Syrians, facing orders to demolish homes, fear fate in Lebanon

ARSAL, Lebanon (Reuters) – Dima al-Kanj’s house is now a pile of rubble and twisted metal.

It was just a concrete hut near the Lebanese border, but she had spent five years trying to make it cozy for her children after fleeing the war in Syria.

Then, under army orders, she had to smash it.

“Every year, we fixed up one thing after another so that we could live in what you’d call a home,” she said, standing in the room leveled to the ground in the remote Lebanese town of Arsal. “Now, there’s nothing left.”

Kanj is among thousands of Syrian refugees who will be left stranded by a government decision to dismantle “semi-permanent structures” in eastern Lebanon, aid agencies say.

At least 15,000 children could become homeless.

Lebanon is toughening enforcement of work and housing rules – some of which were ignored for years – on its more than 1 million Syrian refugees. Lebanese politicians have also ramped up their calls for the Syrians to leave.


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