Although it began as an angry protest as part of the Arab Spring, the
Syrian civil war has since intensified to the destruction of the entire
country. Recent estimates put the death count over 100,000, as entire
communities are wiped off the map, and refugees in the millions are
seeking shelter in nearby countries. As the war intensifies it has an
increasing effect on neighboring countries.
Mona Yacoubian, Senior Adviser on the Middle East at the Stimson
Center, explained, “I think the first point to bear in mind is that
Lebanon’s fate has been very intimately intertwined with that of Syria,
always. And so one has to consider that the long-standing ties-social,
economic-between these two countries in many ways makes Lebanon a
special case.” Lebanon’s future will be in question for as long as the
Syrian civil war remains unresolved. It is as difficult to say what the
outcome will be in Lebanon as it is in Syria.
The current effects nevertheless, are blatantly visible. Refugees are
flooding over the border; Yacoubian estimated the number of refugees to
be well over a million, and adequate housing is not being built for
them. Yacoubian explained, “The conditions for Syrian refugees in
Lebanon are pretty dire-over a million refugees in a country of four
million.” Lebanon is feeling the strains of war within its border.
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