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Syria refugee crisis: Canada vows to support Lebanon

In a noble gesture, Canada on Tuesday announced that it would take measures in order to decrease the pressure on Lebanon caused by the huge refugee crisis in Syria.

Addressing a joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart in the Middle East country Monday, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Stephane Dion pledged 8 million Canadian dollars ($6 million) in "security, defense and stabilization assistance."

"Canada and Lebanon have a strong and deeply rooted relationship, and our two countries continue to work closely together to achieve peace, security and stability in the Middle East," Dion said. "We hope Canada's support will help Lebanon and its host communities build resilience and cope with the ongoing crisis in the region."

According to government estimates, as many as five million Syrians have fled the country in the last six years. Lebanon has been the home to more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees, according to a report released in October by Amnesty International. For his part, Lebanon's Foreign Affairs Minister Gebran Bassil said that the cost of the refugee crisis to Lebanon had reached $13 billion. It is to be noted that only 10,000 Syrian refugees have been taken in by the US.

"Canada's response to the Syrian crisis thus far shows that with leadership and vision, states can resettle large numbers of refugees in a timely manner," Amnesty said in its latest report.

Since Justin Trudeau became the premier of Canada in November 2015, the country has welcomed almost 36,000 refugees from the war-torn nation.