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Switzerland to accept 2,000 Syrian refugees from Lebanon

February 7, 2018 at 10:39 am

Syrian refugee children sit on a wall overlooking a ‘tent settlement’ in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley [Russell Watkins/Flickr]

Swiss Secretary of State for Migration Mario Gattiker said yesterday that his country would receive 2,000 Syrian refugees from Lebanon, Quds Press reported.

Gattiker made the announcement during a press brief made for journalists jointly with the Lebanese Minister of State for Refugee Affairs Mouin Merhebi in Beirut.

Switzerland’s decision will come in to effect in this year and the refugees will be accepted over a two year period. The official described the move as “symbolic”, noting the aim was to show solidarity with Lebanon which is facing a crisis due to the large number of refugees.

“Switzerland has opened the door for resettlement of some 2,000 refugees within two years,” Merhebi said.

Read: Refugees twice over, Palestinians from Syria feel ‘unwelcome’ in Lebanon

He also called on the Swiss government to support long-term development projects that benefit Syrian refugees and Lebanese hosting communities, especially in remote areas that lack basic infrastructure and services.

One million Syrian refugees are registered with the UNHCR in Lebanon, and the number of Syrians in the country is expected to be much higher as there are thousands of unregistered families and many more who are awaiting formal recognition.