30 Mar 2015
A Syrian refugee camp near the town of Qubbat Shamra in Lebanon’s northern Akkar district was devoured by flames instigated by an electrical short-circuit, eyewitnesses said. “The fire consumed an adjacent tent, prompting women and children to flee in panic to the sea for fear of the flames,” Kamal al-Jasim, a 35-year-old Syrian refugee, told The Anadolu Agency. “Despite our cries for help, the fire moved swiftly and devoured one tent after the other,” al-Jasim said. Miriam Ibrahim, a Syrian refugee and a mother of six, said her children were asleep when the fire broke out suddently. “I cried for help but no one was there to help evacuate my children,” she recalled. “However, I managed to rescue my kids despite the utter confusion.” According to witnesses, the flames could not be extinguished as the tents were made of sackcloth, causing the fire to spread. Lebanese security agencies have launched an investigation into the fire. Around 1.2 million Syrians have sought refuge in Lebanon since civil war erupted in their country more than three years ago, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR). Last July, Lebanon told the UNHCR that it would not be able to accommodate any more Syrian refugees as of September, pledging to only take in Syrians whose health conditions were critical.