Hundreds of Syrian refugees flee Lebanon camp while tents burn

BEIRUT – Hundreds of Syrian refugees have fled their temporary camp in northern Lebanon after their tents burned down when fighting broke out between local youths and residents of the camp, aid officials said on Sunday.

At least three people were injured in the December 26 incident in the Miniyeh region near the coastal city of Tripoli, which was followed by angry youths who set fire to the campsite, the state-run National News Agency of Lebanon said.

Lebanon has more than one million Syrian refugees fleeing since the start of the conflict in 2011, but many Syrians have long been migrant workers and a major source of cheap labor for the construction and agricultural sectors.

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Khaled Kabarra, a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said the nearly four hundred residents who fled had gone to other fenced-in campsites or found temporary shelter in vacant schools and hotels.

The country has seen an increase in tensions between refugees and residents in recent years, fueled by humanitarian workers and politicians, fueled by both racism and anger by Lebanese hit by a financial crisis, blaming refugees for their work.