BEIRUT: The number of Syrian nationals entering Lebanon has dipped as a result of revised entry measures in effect since Jan. 5, a government source said Tuesday. More than a month after General Security announced new regulations for Syrians entering the country, the effects of the policy are beginning to take shape at the borders.
The measures require Syrian nationals to apply for one of six types of permits: tourist, business, student, transit, short stay or medical. “On the border, it’s taking [Syrians] more time to cross, because it takes time to process [their entry] and the numbers are decreasing significantly,” an Interior Ministry source said.
The measures raised concerns of humanitarian organizations because they did not specify how Syrian refugees in particular would be affected, and caused widespread confusion among Syrian workers in Lebanon who were unsure how the new policy would affect them.
A local paper quoted a security source as saying the new measures had led to a sharp dip in Syrians entering the country, from 15,000 per day before the New Year to 700. The Interior Ministry source, however, could not confirm the reported numbers, but acknowledged the numbers had diminished.
The new measures are considered the second step in implementing a three-point policy paper adopted by the Cabinet in October. The first was considered the joint launch of the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan, which underscores stability concerns in the country as well as the humanitarian response.
The government has maintained that the measures would not affect humanitarian cases, separate criteria for whom will be outlined by the Social Affairs Ministry. The source said no progress has been made so far on the criteria for such cases, however, adding that the criteria were still being prepared by the ministry.
– See more at: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2015/Feb-11/287031-dip-in-syrians-entering-lebanon.ashx#sthash.vGUWnomE.dpuf