First there were bad words, then shots, then hundreds of refugees lost their homes in the sea of flames.
After a dispute between camp residents and a local clan family, a camp for Syrian refugees in Lebanon was set on fire. According to the UN refugee organization UNHCR, a large fire broke out in the camp in the Minijeh region on Saturday evening and several residents were injured.
The flames had spread over all the tents in the camp, UNHCR spokesman Chaled Kabbara told the AFP news agency. The fire was preceded by a dispute between a local Lebanese clan and Syrian refugees in the camp, Lebanese authorities said according to local media On Sunday.
It was announced on Sunday evening that eight people had been arrested. The Lebanese army said on Sunday that there were two Lebanese and six Syrians. The arson was preceded by a dispute between locals and Syrian workers.
According to AFP, a member of the local “Mir” clan wanted to go shopping in the warehouse on Saturday night in a grocery store that had already closed. As a result, Lebanese people forced Syrian businessmen to reopen the shop so that the Mir family member could shop there.
A Syrian woman is said to have been insulted while shopping. Her relatives became angry, whereupon the Lebanese brought reinforcements. These are said to have fired several shots, some of which set the camp on fire.
According to a UN spokesman, around 75 families lived in the camp – consisting of several hundred family members. After fleeing from dictator Assad in neighboring Syria, they are now homeless again.
According to the government, around 1.5 million Syrians live in Lebanon, including one million people registered as refugees at the UN. After they fled the civil war in neighboring Syria, there are repeated conflicts between them and the Lebanese in the country, which is only around five times as many.
Since 2018, Lebanese authorities have been trying to send the refugees back to the “pacified” neighboring country Syria. But only a few thousand accepted the offer. Most would rather live on in tents in Lebanon than under the victorious one “Butcher of Damascus”, Dictator Bashar al-Assad.