Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Head Home in Droves

Published July 29th, 2018 - 09:00 GMT
Syrian refugees asnd children walk with their belongings as they prepare to board a bus at the Masnaa crossing on the Lebanon-Syria border on July 28, 2018, returning them back to Syria. (AFP/ Photo)
Syrian refugees asnd children walk with their belongings as they prepare to board a bus at the Masnaa crossing on the Lebanon-Syria border on July 28, 2018, returning them back to Syria. (AFP/ Photo)
Hundreds of Syrian refugees have headed back home from neighboring Lebanon on Saturday as part of a series of returns arranged between Beirut and Damascus.

Syrian regime television reported that about 1,200 refugees were expected to cross back into the country from Lebanon before returning to their homes.

Three buses carrying scores of people crossed the border into Syria in the afternoon and more than 30 other buses are in Lebanon to take more refugees later in the day.

Most of those heading home Saturday were coming from the southern Lebanese village of Shebaa.

Saturday’s move is the latest effort by Beirut to accelerate returns to areas where fighting has ended.

Lebanon's General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim said: "The coming period will witness the return of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Lebanon.”

Many have already returned from the northeastern Lebanese town of Arsal.

Lebanon hosts more than a million Syrian refugees, more than a quarter of its population, and leading Lebanese politicians have said many of them should go home as the regime of Bashar Assad makes advances on the ground.

This week a senior official from Assad's ally Russia was in Beirut to discuss a plan for mass returns of refugees and its defense ministry said over 1.7 million would be able to return to Syria from abroad in the near future.

The Russian initiative was proposed following the summit in Helsinki between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier in July.

The United Nations says that conditions for returns to Syria are not yet fulfilled, more than seven years into a conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and driven more than half the pre-war population from their homes.
 
 
This article has been adapted from its original source.

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