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.