Policy Brief

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon: Economic, Political and Sectarian Challenges in the Absence of a Governmental Strategy

As the war in Syria does not show any concrete sign of ending in near future, it continues to effect neighboring countries deeply from different aspects. Among other issues, the refugee crisis is one of the foremost repercussions of the Syrian civil war at both regional and international level. Due to its geographic proximity and its intensive socio-historical relations with Syria, Lebanon takes one of the biggest burdens in terms of the Syrian refuges crisis as it has become the highest concentration of refugees per capita worldwide. Therefore, this policy brief analyzes the current situation of Syrian refugee in Lebanon, Lebanon’s response to this crisis, and the social and political consequences of the presence of Syrians in the country within the context of the peculiar confessional system of Lebanon. Within this framework, it argues that although the wider effects of the Syrian civil war together with Lebanese internal impasses have accumulated several tensions in the current Lebanese politics and economy, the high number of refugees from Syria with its sectarian dimension has emerged as another major problem to be faced with by Lebanese leaders. To conclude, since a swift return of Syrians is not a realistic option at present, there is a need for a clear and national strategy in light of internal political divisions for sustainable solutions.