EU lends hand to Lebanon

Sept. 10, 2013 at 10:45 AM
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BRUSSELS, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- The European Commission said Tuesday it was offering $76.5 million in assistance to Lebanon to help it cope with the influx of Syrian refugees.

"We will continue supporting our partners during this difficult time," European Union Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule said in a statement. "Refugee children are particularly affected by the crisis."

The U.N. Refugee Agency said last week the number of Syrian refugees passed the 2 million mark. It represents an increase of 1.8 million people since last year. The agency said that, with the Syrian crisis "well into its third year," the country was "hemorrhaging" refugees.

Western governments last week issued travel advisories for Lebanon, warning the crisis in Syria may spill across the borders.

Hezbollah this year admitted to fighting alongside pro-government forces in Syria's civil war. Several bombings across Lebanon were said to be in response to the Shiite movement's activities.

"The EU will continue to uphold its commitment, as the largest donor, to provide aid and assistance to those in need due to the Syrian conflict," said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. Today's special measure in favor of Lebanon is part of this effort."

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