Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

Hundreds of Syrian refugees in Lebanon return home

Syrian Refugees | 2019-12-03 18:18:29
Hundreds of Syrian refugees in Lebanon return home
Hundreds of Syrian refugees have headed home in the first batch to leave Lebanon since protests broke out in the small Arab country more than a month ago.

Since the early hours of Tuesday, scores of Syrians boarded buses in several locations in Lebanon before heading back to their hometowns in war-torn Syria.

Vanessa Moya of the U.N. refugee agency known as UNHCR, said some 225 Syrian refugees were scheduled to head back to Syria, raising the number to about 27,000 refugees who have returned to Syria over the past two years.

Thousands of Syrians have returned home from Lebanon since June 2018 as calm returns to parts of Syria.

More than 1 million Syrian refugees are registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Lebanon, while the Lebanese government estimated the true number of Syrians in the country at 1.5 million.

According to the Lebanese authorities, the number of refugees who had returned to their homeland from Lebanon reached 172,046 by March 19.

The Mediterranean country of around 4.5 million people says it hosts some 1.5 million Syrians, of which nearly a million are UN-registered refugees.

Lebanese politicians routinely blame the country's economic and other woes on Syrian refugees and the government has ratcheted up the pressure to send them back.

Rights groups have decried measures to make the lives of refugees increasingly difficult.

Since June, more than 3,600 Syrian families have seen their shelters demolished in the eastern region of Arsal, according to local authorities.

Homes made of anything other than timber and plastic sheeting are not allowed.

In August, the Lebanese army destroyed a further 350 structures in the north of the country and arrested dozens of people for lacking residency documents, humanitarian groups said.

The labour ministry, meanwhile, is cracking down on foreign workers without a permit, a move activists say largely targets Syrians.

Eight years of war in Syria have killed 560,000 people and driven half the pre-war population of 22 million from their homes, including more than 6 million as refugees to neighboring countries.

Zaman Al Wasl, Agencies

Zaman Al Wasl
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