Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) with its partner International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has been providing assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon and host communities since January 2014. In light of the size of influx of refugees from Syria to Lebanon NCA found it important to conduct a conflict analysis of the Syrian refugee crisis, the humanitarian interventions, the related transfer of resources and its impact on the Lebanon and the Lebanese host communities – especially those being targeted by NCA programmes.
Conflict Analysis Project
During the current conflict in Syria, Lebanon has borne the brunt of a severe refugee crisis. As the conflict in Syria rages and takes on new dimensions the number of Syrian refugees flowing into Lebanon continues to rise. In response to the rising levels of tensions, SFCG conducted a conflict scan of 11 host communities in rural South Lebanon as well as Tripoli.
The Lebanon Host Communities Support Project (LHSP) is a multi donor programme aimed at increasing stability and building the capacity of communities affected by the Syrian crisis to address tensions, prevent conflict and ensure peaceful co-existence. This research aims to establish whether improved service delivery in communities under pressure from the influx of Syrian refugees can affect the level of tension between Syrian refugees and residents in Lebanese host communities.
Since the onset of the crisis in Syria in 2011, Lebanon has faced numerous spill over effects. The historically fragile Lebanese structure and economy are struggling to accommodate approximately over 1.1 million registered Syrian refugees and 43,377 Palestinian refugees from Syria. In a country of just over 4 million people and 321,362 Palestinian refugees from Lebanon, population has grown by 30 percent and 1 out of 5 are refugees. The magnitude of the crisis has had a dilapidating effect on the local economy and infrastructure.
With the Syrian crisis in its fourth year, tensions between Lebanese host communities and refugees are high. After years of strain on employment, social services and resources, and the continued deterioration of the national economic situation due to falling trade and foreign investment, Lebanon and the Lebanese face unprecedented challenges managing the effects of the crisis. Furthermore, the economic hardships also erode the relationship between the Government of Lebanon and its constituents, as all confidence in the government’s ability to provide services collapses.
Since 2011, Lebanon has seen a huge influx of refugees fleeing the violence in Syria and currently hosts the biggest number of Syrian refugees in the world. Faced with waves of violence, insecurity and instability, Lebanese communities have found ways of adapting and developed coping mechanisms to deal with worsening conditions. This adaptability has often been called ‘resilience’.
The population shift from Syria, as a result of the Syrian Crisis, is causing enormous pressure on host communities and exacerbating instability factors. In an in-depth assessments in 12 vulnerable municipalities in Lebanon, Mercy Corps found that 71% of the surveyed host community indicated that conditions have worsened in their municipalities. As such, with socio-economic conditions in the country continue to decline and political instability rises, it is projected that there will be an increased risk of intolerance and withdrawal of host community assistance to refugees.
The influence of terrorist groups operating on the Lebanese-Syrian border, Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria, and the increasing sense of humiliation and powerlessness amongst Sunnis since Hezbollah’s takeover of west Beirut in 2008 is breeding concern about the radicalization of Lebanon’s Sunni community. The purpose of this case study is to identify drivers of radicalization of Sunnis in Akkar, particularly in Halba and its surrounding areas, and to examine any motivations to contest the Lebanese state.
REACH undertook an assessment of host community needs in Akkar Governorate, one of Lebanon’s most underdeveloped regions. With approximately one-third of the population of Akkar consisting of refugees, there has been a need to understand the pressures caused by large concentrations of displaced persons in one of Lebanon’s poorest regions. The following paper aims to provide information on the challenges this community faces and potential interventions that might support them. Results indicate that livelihoods in Akkar have been affected greatly.
Considerable analysis has been undertaken to date on the challenges and impacts on and of Syrian refugees in Lebanon – including by Oxfam – but the bulk of this analysis is seen through the lens of the wider Syria crisis and often fails to take into consideration Lebanon itself as a country in crisis or use a wider inequality and poverty lens.