Syrian refugees residing in Lebanon continue to suffer economically and socially in squalid camps despite the stable security situation.
With the Syrian conflict entering its 9th year, thousands of Syrian refugees continue to reside in camps in nearby countries. According to UN reports, Lebanon alone hosts a little less than 1 million registered refugees. While their security situation is stable, their financial and social lives have been severely affected.
The family of Mona al-Ali, a Syrian refugee who fled to Lebanon after her hometown, Homs, was afflicted by war, has suffered from poverty and lack of education. The family is composed of 9 children with the eldest being 15 and 16 years old. Mona states that their father’s poor work conditions and the lack of aid by the UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) has forced them to stop attending schools and work low-income jobs.
“My eldest daughters sometimes work and help me,” said Mona al-Ali. “Their little brothers help me with the house.”
According to a UN report published recently, refugees’ poor conditions have taken a toll on their social lives, forcing many of them to marry at a young age. This has caused an increase in underage marriages over the past year within Syrian refugee camps, with 3 in every ten girls getting married at the age of 18 or younger.
“I have eight children, I married off my 18-year-old daughter because our circumstances are difficult,” said Ibrahim al-Abdallah al-Fahad, a Syrian refugee residing in Lebanon.
Syria observers say that a lack of education and the rise in low-income employment and underage marriage will further deteriorate the situation for Syrian refugees.
Furthermore, the arrival of winter has also threatened the survival of refugees, as rainwater has flooded their ill-equipped tents.
With the instability and uncertainty that their country still faces, Syrian refugees are hesitant to return home, despite their harsh conditions in the camps.
With nine years and counting, Syrian refugees both at home and abroad continue to face hardships in economic and social security.