200,000 Syrian refugees have returned from Lebanon since 2017

Lebanon’s General Security Directorate says 200,000 Syrian refugees have returned to their homeland, in full coordination with authorities in Syria, from various areas in Lebanon since 2017.

The directorate stated on Saturday that the repatriation took place faster in 2018 than the recent past in 2019 due to the beginning of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

On May 6, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said Syrian refugees will have to leave Lebanon due to the dire economic situation in the country.

“If the international community does not facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland, Syrians will escape Lebanon through the Mediterranean Sea to other countries to run away from the deteriorating economic situation in Lebanon,” Aoun said.

The remarks came days after the Lebanese president called upon Spain to help Lebanon in changing the European Union’s position to support the return of the refugees.

“Lebanon looks forward to a change in the European position regarding the return of Syrian refugees to Syria and to facilitate it under the international community’s support,” Aoun told Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell Fontelles in Beirut.

On April 8, nearly 1,000 Syrian refugees returned to their homeland from Lebanon.

The return of refugees took place under the supervision of Lebanon’s General Security in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Refugees arrived at the Jdeidat Yabous and al-Dabbousiya border crossings from Lebanese territories.

The refugees underwent medical checks before being transferred to their hometowns.

More than one million Syrian refugees are registered with the UNHCR in Lebanon.

The Beirut government estimates that the true number of Syrians in Lebanon stands at 1.5 million.

In February, Lebanon’s minister of state for displaced affairs said his country would stick primarily to a Russian strategy for the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland.

“The Russian strategy will be adopted as a basis for our approach towards the return of Syrian refugees to Syria,” Saleh Gharib told China’s official Xinhua news agency on February 6.

He also did not deny the possibility of visiting Syria, or conducting a direct dialogue with high-ranking government officials in Damascus to secure the return of Syrian refugees.

“Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is very much aware of the sensitivity of this issue, and all necessary steps will be taken in this regard,” Gharib said.

The strategy to help Syrian refugees go back to their homes was drawn up following a meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the Finnish capital city of Helsinki on July 16, 2018. 

It specifies about 76 residential neighborhoods in Syria’s central provinces of Homs and Hama, the northwestern province of Idlib as well as Damascus to enable the return of 360,000 Syrian refugees as a first step.

The strategy also entails the rehabilitation of houses in the mentioned areas, which would allow the return of 500,000 more Syrian refugees within two years.

Source Article from http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2019/05/11/595659/Syrian-refugees-Lebanon-

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