July 11, 2012 - 21:39 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Lebanon's relief agency has suspended funding treatment for wounded Syrians who cross into the country, officials said on Thursday, July 11 citing rapidly rising costs as the conflict over the border escalates, Reuters said.
Local aid and medical workers said Lebanese hospitals would close their doors to wounded Syrians who were not in a critical condition. They have yet to determine where the wounded would be taken instead or who would pay for them.
The United Nations Higher Council for Refugees (UNHCR) says some 30,000 Syrians have fled to Lebanon to flee the fighting in the 16-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.
The head of Lebanon's Higher Relief Council (HRC), Ibrahim Bashir, said the cost of providing medical care for Syrians had ballooned to over $1 million a month from around $200,000 a few months ago.
Activists said the decision would endanger Syrians wounded in the conflict, who are smuggled into neighboring countries such as Lebanon and Turkey for fear of retribution or arrest if they go to state hospitals in Syria.
"How is this the fault of a Syrian whose arm has been cut off, or whose leg is bleeding? If they don't take our wounded we'll take them out into the streets and protest," said Syrian activist Khaled Abu Raed, who heads a relief group for Syrian refugees in Lebanon's northern port city of Tripoli.
The HRC and overseeing minister Wael Abu Faour, of the Ministry of Social Affairs, said costs being were inflated by Syrians seeking secondary care such as cancer and diabetes treatment.
"Treatment will be suspended until a new system can be put in place to prevent exploitation," Abu Faour said. "There are some people who claim they are displaced but they are not, and there is bad administration."