Lebanese Visa Restrictions Set Significant Precedent for Syrian Refugees

In an interview with the New Atlanticist, Faysal Itani, a fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, argues that the Lebanese government’s decision to impose visa restrictions on Syrian refugees sets a “significant precedent.”

With more than one million refugees in Lebanon, the flow of fleeing Syrians into its neighboring country could see a decline. The US government expressed its concern over the new measures, but added that the burden of refugees on host countries is “a tremendous challenge for their economies and public services.” 

“There is a heavy international taboo over treating refugees in this way—refusing asylum,” Itani explained, adding that the Jordanian government is moving in a similar direction. While the Turkish government has offered a more welcoming life for Syrian refugees. “The Turks have a much bigger population, a much bigger economy, and much less fragile domestic politics as compared to Lebanon or Jordan.”

Read the full interview here.   

Image: Photo: Babunnur Syrian refugee camp in Aleppo (IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation/Creative Commons)