In the past few weeks, security officials, as well as NGOs, have documented hundreds of fights breaking out at bakeries between Lebanese nationals and Syrian refugees.
This is likely due to the recent comments made by Lebanese officials, mainly Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who claimed that Syrian refugees are stimulating the economic crisis.
The caretaker Minister of Economy, Amin Salam, claimed in late June that Syrians consume 400,000 bags of bread every day. Hector Hajjar, the Minister of Social Affairs, made a similar statement when he said that the Lebanese government pays $9 million monthly to supply Syrian refugees with bread.
Paralleled with these statements, anti-Syrian slogans were being circulated on social media, which caused a spike in anti-Syrian sentiment amongst Lebanese nationals.
European officials in Lebanon warned Lebanese politicians about this phenomenon and asserted that if these provocations persist Lebanon will be denied foreign financial aid.
Lebanese officials managing this case have not denied that Syrians do play a catalyst role in the crisis, mainly by benefitting from the power and water supply. However, they asserted that the main responsibility falls on the Ministry of Economy and “flour mafias” who are selling their subsidized flour on the black market.
ISF Uncovered Warehouse With Huge Amount Of Subsidized Flour In North Lebanon.
Lebanese Bakeries Are Running Out Of Flour.