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Hundreds of Syrians flee refugee camp as blaze destroys site in Lebanon

Hundreds of Syrians have been forced to flee a refugee camp after a blaze raged through the site in Lebanon for hours. The fire…

By admin , in World News , at December 28, 2020 Tags: ,

Hundreds of Syrians have been forced to flee a refugee camp after a blaze raged through the site in Lebanon for hours.

The fire has burned the entire camp to the ground, destroying tents that were housing families, officials said.

Four people have been taken to hospital with minor injuries following the blaze, Khaled Kabbara, a UN Refugee Agency spokesman in northern Lebanon, said.

Some residents went back to the camp – an informal settlement on a plot of rented land – on Sunday to see if they could recover anything from the wreckage, he said.

The entire camp, where around 375 people lived, was burnt to the ground after the fire, Mr Kabbara said.

Images showed refugees observing the remains of the destroyed camp in the northern town of Bhanine on Sunday, with smoke still rising from parts.

The fire broke out after a fight between a Lebanese family in al-Miniyeh in northern Lebanon and Syrians living in the camp, according to Lebanese media reports.

A Lebanese official said the army is investigating the cause of the fire and conducting raids to round up those responsible for the altercation.

Tensions are common in Lebanon – where more than one million refugees are living – between citizens and Syrian refugees who have fled the war in their country.

Mr Kabbara said altercations between residents and Syrian refugees often “catastrophically impact the community as a whole”.

Tensions between Lebanese and Syrians also dates back to a time when Syria dominated its smaller neighbour for almost three decades, with thousands of troops stationed in Lebanon.

They withdrew in 2005 following the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister, which sparked massive anti-Syrian protests.

The fire that has devestated the camp in northern Lebanon comes months after a blaze destroyed Europe’s largest refugee camp in Greece, where more than 12,500 people were living.

A volunteer worker said at the time only a “miracle” prevented any major casualties from the fire at the camp on the island of Lesbos in September.

In November, a fire also burned tents and some structures in a refugee camp in the Greek island of Samos.

SOURCE

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