Women, Children Found Dead Near Lebanon’s Border with Syria
At least 16 Syrians were found dead in the mountainous border passage to Lebanon over the weekend amid fierce winter storms.
The bodies of eight women and at least two children were among 12 found dead on Friday, while a further four bodies were discovered in the following days, according to Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper.
Since Syrians were barred from entering Lebanon without a visa in 2015, many have resorted to smuggler passages through the mountain range separating the two countries. Some 1.5 million Syrians have sought refuge in tiny neighboring Lebanon.
Smugglers had abandoned the Syrians in the snow storm, the Daily Star reported. At least one boy from the group was rescued after he was discovered wandering alone through the mountains, according to the BBC.
58 Refugees Leave Australian-Run Camp for U.S.
A second group of refugees has left Australia’s offshore center on Manus Island for resettlement in the U.S. under an Obama-era deal, the Guardian reports.
Some 58 refugees departed the Papua New Guinean island for the U.S. under the agreement, which Donald Trump reluctantly agreed to honor. Another 54 refugees were resettled from Manus and Australia’s other offshore center on Nauru Island late last year.
In exchange for the U.S. taking in some of the 1,000-plus refugees held offshore, Australia agreed to take in Central American refugees from U.S.-run camps in Costa Rica, the first group of whom arrived in December.
The next group of 130 refugees to be resettled in the U.S. is expected to leave Nauru within weeks, according to the Guardian.
Asylum Claims Fall by One-Third in Switzerland in 2017
The number of new asylum seekers in Switzerland in 2017 dropped by one-third, paralleling a similar decline in neighboring Germany.
Some 18,088 people claimed asylum in Switzerland last year, a decrease of 9,119 on 2016 and the lowest number since 2010.
The number of asylum seekers reaching Germany also declined by around one-third in 2017.
The main reason for the decrease was Italy’s curbing of the sea passage from North Africa and a dramatic fall in asylum claims from Eritreans and Afghans.
Most people claiming asylum in Switzerland in 2017 were from Eritrea, followed by Syrians and Afghans.