Lebanon has introduced new visa restrictions on Syrian nationals, in an attempt to stem the flow of refugees pouring in from the conflict in Syria.
For the first time, Syrian nationals will be required to obtain a visa in order to enter neighbouring Lebanon. The policy will start tomorrow, following an influx of over one million Syrian refugees since the conflict started in 2011.
Syrian nationals hoping to enter Lebanon will now be expected to provide evidence of a hotel reservation, a valid form of identification, and $1,000.
Rashid Derbas, Lebanon's Social Affairs Minister, defended the new visa laws, insisting Lebanon was not trying to seal off its border with Syria.
Speaking to Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper, Derbas said: "To implement the new security strategy, [we] must organise the entry of Syrians and their exits."
Derbas also insisted that the Lebanese government were looking to improve cooperation with the Assad government in Damascus.
The news has been met with approval by the Syrian government, who praised the positive "co-operation between the two governments".
Since the fighting started in March 2011, over 200,0000 people have been killed. Around half of the Syrian population has been displaced, with many refugees living in tough conditions in Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.