Pope, Lebanese president seek aid for Syrian refugees

Lebanese army soldiers secure an area as a Syrian refugee arrives in the Shebaa region of Lebanon.

CNS PHOTO/KARAMALLAH DAHER, REUTERS

Lebanese army soldiers secure an area as a Syrian refugee arrives in the Shebaa region of Lebanon.

May 13, 2013

Meeting at the Vatican May 3, Pope Francis and Lebanese President Michel Sleiman called on the international community to offer concrete aid to Lebanon and other countries hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria.

Aides to Sleiman told reporters the president was unable to come to the Vatican for Pope Francis’ installation Mass March 19, but wanted to congratulate and speak with the new pope as soon as possible.

In late April, the United Nations said more than 440,000 Syrians – greater than 10 per cent of Lebanon’s population – were registered as or were awaiting registration as refugees.

In mid-March Sleiman said that when the number of Syrians who were staying with relatives in Lebanon was counted, their number exceeded one million, placing an enormous burden on the country.