Syria, Lebanon Discussed Plan To Send 15,000 Refugees Back Home Per Month

Syria, Lebanon Discussed Plan To Send 15,000 Refugees Back Home Per Month

DAMASCUS/BEIRUT, Aug 16 (NNN-SANA/NNA) – Syrian and Lebanese officials, met in the Syrian capital, Damascus yesterday, to discuss ways to facilitate the monthly return of 15,000 Syrian refugees.

Syrian Minister of Local Administration and Environment, Hussein Makhlouf, held a meeting with visiting Lebanese Minister of the Displaced, Issam Charafeddine, during which they touched upon measures taken by Syria, to secure a safe and quick home return for the refugees, based on a timeline set by both countries.

“Lebanon and Syria agree on the necessity to facilitate the return of all refugees to their homeland, not just 15,000 monthly, as stated in the plan presented by the Lebanese side,” Makhlouf told a joint press conference with the Lebanese minister.

The Syrian government has pledged to secure basic services, including transportation, accommodation, medical care, and education, for all the Syrian refugees who want to come back, said Makhlouf.

He said, the Syrian army has restored security and stability to large swathes of territories over the past few years, and the Syrian government has so far enabled the home return of four million internally displaced people and one million overseas Syrian refugees.

He also called on UN organisations to be “an active partner in the return of the displaced, especially when Syria is open to cooperation with Lebanon and others, to facilitate the return of all the displaced, allowing them to have an active role in the reconstruction process.”

For his part, Charafeddine said, “We discussed our plan in detail with the Syrian authorities, who expressed readiness to receive all refugees, pledging to provide them with facilities.”

The Lebanese officials intended to visit Syria soon, to further coordinate the return of refugees with Syrian authorities, he added.

The Lebanese minister held separate meeting with Syrian Interior Minister, Mohammad Khaled al-Rahmoun, during which Khaled said, the Syrian government allows expired passport holders to return home and the registration of Syrian children who were born overseas.

Khaled added, immigration centres at the borders were all connected to central database, in order to provide the returnees with needed documents upon arriving in the country.

Lebanon is hosting the largest number of refugees per capita, with the government estimating 1.5 million Syrian refugees, 880,000 of whom are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, whose representative in Lebanon rejected the country’s plan, citing Syria is not safe for returning refugees.

Charafeddine said earlier in Aug that, Lebanon would implement its plan, regardless of the UN position, as his country suffers from an unprecedented financial crisis and the influx of refugees has weighed heavily on the economy and infrastructure.– NNN-SANA/NNA  


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