Relations between Syria and Lebanon in the past 40 years have been tense due to events such as the Lebanese Civil War, the subsequent Syrian occupation of Lebanon, and the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in 2005, which remains unsolved. Though the occupation of Lebanon has officially ended, tensions have surfaced again due to the influx of refugees from the Syrian Civil War that began as a result of the recent Arab Spring. Millions of Syrians have been forced out of their homes and have fled to neighboring countries, including Lebanon, where currently over a million refugees are estimated to have relocated. By all accounts, the situation of these refugees grows ever more precarious, and the stability of Lebanon itself is now threatened. Through an analysis of various sources, including local newspaper reports, official UN records, and personal interviews with refugees and those in contact with them, this paper looks to document the recent history of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. It will chart their diverse makeup, describe their varied conditions, and analyze how they, and their Lebanese “hosts”, perceive their situation. An over-arching aim will be to break down the monolithic category of “Syrian refugee in Lebanon” by trying to expose the complex reality of actual experience on the ground. In the course of this study, connections will be made to the history of Syrian-Lebanese relations and the current geopolitics of the region. Finally, a comment on prospects for the future of these refugees, and for Lebanon, will be offered.

Additional Abstract Information

Student(s): Marko Popovic

Department: History

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Timothy Fitzgerald

Type: Oral

Year: 2015

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