UK PM Cameron visits Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon


Cameron says his country’s $1.5 billion in aid to Syrian refugees helped discourage hundreds of thousands from ‘risking their lives seeking to get to Europe’

BEIRUT, Lebanon – U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron arrived in Beirut early Monday in an unannounced visit to a UNHCR refugee camp near the Syria border.

The Lebanese News Agency said Cameron’s visit is expected to last only a few hours. 

During the visit, Cameron argued that his country’s $1.5 billion in aid to Syrian refugees since 2012 helped discourage hundreds of thousands from “risking their lives seeking to get to Europe.”

The British government was criticized in recent weeks over plans to accept only around 4,000 refugees.

Cameron had to revise the number and announced last week that his country would take in 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years.

According to recent UN figures, more than 250,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began four years ago.

Around half of the country’s population has been displaced by the violence, with more than four million Syrians now seeking refuge in neighboring countries.