Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rahi on Wednesday said that the Syrian refugees' presence has become a burden for Lebanon at all levels, warning that linking their return to a political solution in Syria poses a great danger to the country.
“I don’t want the public opinion to think that we are against the Syrian refugees; on the contrary, we want them to return back to their homeland, to their history and culture," he said during a meeting with the newly-elected Maronite League council.
"What I want to say to the Syrians is the following: We are not against you. We are saying that you must go back to your country with dignity because your presence has become a danger to us."
Al-Rahi voiced support for Pesident Michel Aoun's repeated calls to not link the refugees' return to a political solution in Syria, saying that doing so would be the "biggest mistake".
“Palestinians have been in Lebanon for 71 years now, waiting for a political solution that has never come,” he stated.