You are here

Conflict Incident Report

East Lebanon locals decry Syrian labor competition

Date of incident: 
March 3, 2017 to March 5, 2017
Death toll: 
Number of Injured: 
Actors/Parties Involved: 
Lebanese Civilians

BEIRUT: East Lebanon residents protested for the third day in a row Sunday against Syrians in the country who they say are undercutting their business, state media said.

Residents of Ali al-Nahri called for “decisive decisions” to resolve what they called “the over-expansion of Syrian labor” that jeopardizes the of the Lebanese, the National News Agency said.

Protesters called on state officials to resolve the “crisis of [hosting] Syrian refugees who admit they do not want to return to their country even after the Syrian crisis ends.”

Thousands of Syrians have fled the ongoing war in Syria since 2011.

UNHCR estimates around 1.01 Syrian refugees are currently living in Lebanon.

Several Lebanese officials have called for the return of Syrian refugees to safe zones within Syria.

“Their food is guaranteed, they get free health care, and there is a boom in donations,” one protester said, adding that “this is the reason they are undercutting [Lebanese] businesses.”

In addition to the refugees, many Syrians are legal residents who are allowed to work a pre-defined list of professions issued by the Ministry of Labor.

Protesters claimed that most businesses in the towns of the central Bekaa Valley “belong to Syrians, and it seems that there is no longer room for us in our own country.”

A number of Lebanese towns, including the Mount Lebanon town of Hadath, have closed businesses owned by Syrian refugees, pursuant to Labor Ministry decisions.

Lebanese authorities have been pushing for tighter regulations on Syrian laborers in the country, warning that the mass influx of workers could lead to higher rates of unemployment among the Lebanese population.

International organizations have attempted to measure the effect and extent of displacement of local workers by foreign workers since the start of the Syrians crisis and concluded there has been minimal impact where measurement is possible.

Lebanon’s economy and infrastructure has borne a heavy burden due to the Syrian conflict and hosting the resulting refugees.

Primary category: 
Collective Action [inc. protests, solidarity movements...]
Classification of conflict (primary): 
Policy conflicts
Conflicts associated with political decisions, government or state policies regarding matters of public concern, such as debates concerning law reforms, electoral laws, and protests of the government’s political decisions, among others.
Classification of conflict(secondary):
Border conflicts (Syrian border)
Violations, disputes and/or conflicts arising between rival armed groups along the Lebanese/Syrian borders which involve parties or militant groups from the Lebanese and Syrian side in both Lebanon and Syria. These conflicts also encompass transnational groups (such as faith-based regional groups, e.g. ISIS, al-Nusra Front) that cannot be considered as strictly Syrian, Lebanese or of any other national entity.