Three Syrian Children Killed in Lebanon After Tent Caught Fire

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Thursday, February 19, 2015

Three Syrian refugee children died Thursday in the north Lebanese village of Bahnin-Denniyeh when their tent caught fire after coming in contact with live electric wires, a Lebanese National News Agency correspondent reported.

The bodies of Rawaa, Talal and Sabah Sleiman were transferred to al-Khair hospital in al-Miniyeh, while security forces opened an investigation to identify the causes of the fire. The NNA did not say how old the children were.

According to a United Nations report in January, Syrians have overtaken Afghans as the largest refugee population in the world aside from Palestinians, fleeing to more than 100 countries to escape war in their homeland.

According to a report by Amnesty in December, wealthy nations have only taken in a "pitiful" 1.7 percent of the millions of refugees uprooted by Syria's conflict, placing the burden on the country's ill-equipped neighbors.

Lebanon’s population has grown by nearly 25 percent since the war in Syria began in 2011 as it shelters over 1.5 million Syrian refugees living in makeshift camps throughout the country, making it the highest per capita concentration of refugees in the world.

Lebanon has refused to set up official refugee camps for Syrians, fearing that it would make their presence in the country more permanent, and citing its troubled relationship with the existing Palestinian refugee population in Lebanon.

Low temperatures, lack of adequate heating and necessary aid for refugees have already claimed the lives of at least four Syrian refugees in Lebanon in January, including a 5-year-old boy.

Many were trapped in their tents by the heavy rain and snow, struggling to stay warm in temperatures hovering around zero degrees.

Syrian refugees have also struggled with systemic racism in Lebanon, with some towns installing curfews for refugees. The refugees are also particularly vulnerable to acts of xenophobic violence.

In January, Lebanon started imposing visa restrictions on Syrians for the first time. Citizens of both countries had previously been able to travel freely across their shared border since Lebanon gained independence in 1943.

(Al-Akhbar)

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