In the small seaside Akkar village of Qubbet Shamra sits a plot of land almost completely congested with gravestones.
“We get two or three bodies coming here almost everyday,” said Abu Hassan, an elderly Syrian refugee who lives in the tented settlement next to the graveyard. “Mostly babies who have died during childbirth.”This secluded cemetery has become known to Syrian refugees throughout Lebanon, as it is one of the few places in which refugees are allowed to bury their loved ones with no questions asked. Many of Lebanon’s over-1 million Syrian refugees are struggling to meet the costs of burials, and in some cases locals are barring them from interning their deceased in cemeteries.
This crisis has led to the increased popularity of the Qubbet Shamra cemetery. Abu Hassan says they’ve had burials from all over Lebanon, and even some Syrians flown in from Mauritania and Algeria whose families are currently refugees in Lebanon.
Khalid al-Asmar, head of the Qubbet Shamra municipality, said that he allowed the site to be used by refugees after locals refused to let the Syrians use the village’s other cemeteries.