Statement on the death of 15 Syrians during an overnight storm while they were attempting to enter Lebanese territory

A young Syrian refugee bundles up against the cold in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley in January 2016.  © UNHCR/Haidar Darwish

UNHCR is distraught by the death of 15 Syrians – including children, women and men – near the Masnaa border in eastern Lebanon during a storm Thursday night (18 to 19 January) while they were attempting to enter Lebanese territory by taking a smuggling route.

The victims were trying to cross an arduous and rugged passage in freezing temperatures. Others in the group, including a pregnant woman, were discovered in time and assisted by nearby residents and the Lebanese Armed Forces and Civil Defence to reach hospitals before they froze to death.

These tragic deaths illustrate the desperation of those trying to reach safety in Lebanon, and remind us that the situation inside Syria remains very difficult and that people continue to take huge risks to cross to safety.

UNHCR presents its deepest condolences to the families of the deceased. UNHCR globally continues to call on states to enable safe passage and allow entry to persons in need of protection.

Media contacts: