On Monday, over 700 Syrian refugees headed back to Syria from Lebanon, in the latest of such returns organized by the Lebanese General Security, the Lebanese Daily Star reported.
Over the past few weeks, about 2000 Syrian refugees have returned to Syria. Most of the refugees are from the western Qalamoun region, after the Lebanese security ensured the safe transfer of the refugees from Arsal to the Lebanese-Syrian border.
In August, the Lebanese General Security announced its decision to create centers to register refugees after earlier outlining conditions for returnees who are in violation of residency requirements, including lifetime bans on many refugees returning to Lebanon, the Lebanese Daily Star reported.
In July, Hezbollah officially announced the opening of a multitude of centers across Lebanon to assist those willing to voluntarily return to Syria. The centers were announced by Hezbollah Secretary-General Hasan Nasrallah.
Hezbollah’s militia has provided guarantees that refugees will not be prosecuted and will receive immunity from the regime if they agreed to return to Syria.
According to The Daily Star, the refugees can submit applications any day, except Sundays, at centers in Baalbeck, Hermel, Labweh, Bednayel, Furn al-Shubbak, Nabatieh, Tyre, Bint Jbeil and Marjayoun. In order to return, Syrian refugees must submit documents for review by the Syrian regime.
Also, the Syrian regime said it would set up a coordination committee to repatriate millions of refugees who fled the country's seven-year conflict, the state-run news agency said.
According to the United Nations, the conflict has displaced more than 5 million Syrians outside the country, with more than half displaced to Turkey and most of the rest split between Lebanon and Jordan
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 mounting arrest campaign by the Lebanese has 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.
A survey made by Zaman al-Wasl on a random sample of 210 refugees in the camps of Arsal, showed that 92% of the refugees had refused to return, while 8% had agreed to return to the towns that they described as safe in the western Qalamoun.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.