UN says 15 people die in snowstorm while crossing Lebanon border

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on Monday confirmed that 15 Syrian nationals died in snowstorm at a border area with war-torn Syria while trying to illegally enter Lebanon.

The UNHCR said in a statement that men, women and children were among the dead while a pregnant woman was among those rescued by the Lebanese military and nearby residents.

The Lebanese army originally said on Friday that 10 people had died, including nine who were found dead in the al-Sawayari-Masnaa mountainous area on the border with Syria and one who later died in hospital.

The group said that the people died while trying to cross the border on Thursday night.

Two Syrians were arrested over suspected involvement in the bid to smuggle the victims into Lebanon, according to the army’s statement.

There are several routes used by smugglers to bring Syrians into Lebanon in return for money.

In 2014, the Lebanese government decided to stop admitting Syrians after an influx of refugees strained Lebanon’s economy.

Lebanon hosts some 1.5 million Syrians displaced by more than six years of war in their homeland. (dpa/NAN)

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