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500 Refugees Move Back to Syria From Arsal

Since the conflict began in 2011, over a million Syrians have fled to neighbouring Lebanon writes Zaman Al Wasl
500 Refugees Move Back to Syria From Arsal

About 500 refugees from the Lebanese town of Arasl are expected to return to Syria, following a reconciliation deal brokered by Hezbollah, sources said.

Most of the refugees are from the western Qalamoun region, according to a Zaman al-Wasl reporter.

Thousands of Syrians are unable to return because their homes were destroyed in the fighting, or because they fear military conscription or retribution from regime forces.

But the tough retractions and a campaign of arrests by Lebanese security have pushed hundreds of refugees to move back home as fighting there subsides.

The Syrian regime has called on refugees to return, saying it has successfully cleared large areas of "terrorists," according to AP.

Tuesday's appeal reflects the regime's growing confidence after more than seven years of war. Syrian regime forces, with crucial support from Russia and Iran, recently retook large areas near the capital, Damascus, and are waging a new offensive in the south. The regime refers to all armed opposition groups as terrorists.

Over 5.6 million Syrians have fled the country. The Foreign Ministry says many internally displaced people have already returned home, urging refugees to do same.

In May, 3,000 refugees were set to leave northeast Lebanon to the Qalamoun region, despite the United Nations saying conditions are still not suitable and refusing to organize the returns.

Syrian refugees in Lebanon have called on the UN refugee agency to protect them from the abuses of Lebanese security that has used the identity of UNHCR employees to trick refugees in its latest campaign of arrests.

A number of Syrian refugees told Zaman al-Wasl that members of the Lebanese security have been claiming that they work for the UNHCR to interrogate the refugees in a covert way; enabling them to arrest some later.

Lebanese officials have accused the UN refugee agency of deliberately discouraging refugees from returning.


This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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