Kataeb Party chief MP Sami Gemayel warned Friday that Lebanon is facing what he called a “new occupation,” noting that the Syrian refugees must return to “safe areas” inside Syria.
“Lebanon is facing a new occupation, seeing as Bekaa's residents have become a minority compared to the number of refugees who are living on Bekaa's soil,” said Gemayel during a visit to the Bekaa city of Zahle.
“We cannot but raise the alarm to say that we can no longer tolerate this situation, seeing as there are safe areas in Syria and the refugees must return to their villages so that we can live in freedom and dignity in our country, and so that our youths can find jobs,” Gemayel added.
“It is true that we have a sense of humanity and we have offered the Palestinians and Syrians a lot, but that must not come at the expense of our people and future because Lebanon's interest must come first,” Kataeb's chief went on to say.
Lebanon is home to more than one million registered Syrian refugees -- equal to about a quarter of the country's 4.5 million people. It's the highest refugee population in the world per capita.