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Hundreds of Syrian refugees flee Lebanon camp as tents torched

Lebanon has over one million Syrian refugees who fled since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011.
Syrian refugees salvage belongings from the wreckage of their shelters at a camp set on fire overnight in the northern Lebanese town of Bhanine on Sunday. Ibrahim Chalhoub / AFP - Getty Images

BEIRUT — Hundreds of Syrian refugees fled their makeshift camp in north Lebanon after their tents were torched when fighting broke out between local youths and camp residents, aid officials said on Sunday.

At least three were injured in the incident on Dec.26 in the Miniyeh region near the coastal city of Tripoli, which was followed by angry youths setting the campsite on fire, Lebanon’s state-owned National News Agency said.

Lebanon has over one million Syrian refugees who fled since the beginning of the conflict in 2011 and but many Syrians have long been migrant workers and a main source of cheap labour for the construction and agriculture sectors.

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Khaled Kabarra, a U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) spokesman, said the nearly four hundred residents who fled went to other enclosed encampments or found temporary shelter in vacant schools and hotels.

The country has seen a rise in tensions between refugees and residents in the last years that humanitarian workers and politicians says are fuelled by both racism and anger by Lebanese hit by a financial crisis who blame refugees for taking their jobs.