The Syrian civil war has displaced more than one million Syrians as refugees in Lebanon. Lebanon has not set up formal camps, but instituted a “non–camp” approach, meaning that nearly all the refugees are self–settled and live precariously in the country’s major cities and in the Bekaa valley bordering Syria. Lebanon’s non-camp policy has been lauded as both cheaper for the host country and more humane for the refugees, yet is not humanitarian gesture, but a result of deep political divisions over Syria’s civil war. The refugee crisis has led to a re-ordering of national politics and relations vis-à-vis Syria, but defied the notion of a weak state, facing imminent collapse. The chapter hence examines the government’s handling of the crisis, and the contested interactions between residents and refugees and the consequent rearranging of community relations.
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