Syria Links Return of Displaced Persons to Ending the US and Turkish Occupations

Arab diplomatic sources say the Syrian regime has failed to provide the necessary security and political conditions to curb illicit trade, according to Asharq al-Awsat.

Hopes for the promised meeting between Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Abdallah Bouhabib, and his Syrian counterpart, Faisal Mekdad, to pave the way for establishing a timetable for the return of displaced Syrians to their homes have significantly faded. This desire was shared by the Minister of Displacement in the caretaker government, Issam Sharafeddine, who consistently implied that the impediment to their return lies with the Lebanese government. The Lebanese government has yet to form a ministerial security delegation to engage in negotiations with the Syrian government, aimed at organizing the voluntary and secure return of displaced individuals to their towns and villages.

Arab diplomatic sources, speaking to Asharq al-Awsat, disclosed that the Syrian regime has failed to provide the necessary security and political conditions to curb the illicit “export” of contraband, particularly Captagon, to neighbouring nations. Additionally, the Syrian government has been uncooperative in responding to the prerequisites for transitioning toward a political solution to end the conflict in Syria, which has hindered progress.

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These sources have also highlighted the Syrian regime’s persistent efforts to shift responsibility for not receiving the displaced onto the international community, citing the lack of response to its calls for assistance in Syria’s reconstruction. They revealed that the program, previously formulated by the Syrian government in collaboration with the Lebanese authorities to facilitate the return of displaced individuals sheltering in Lebanon, faced setbacks. This was primarily due to the insistence of Syrian security services on scrutinizing the lists of individuals wishing to return to their homes. As a result, hundreds were excluded on grounds of security and political considerations. The Syrian security services’ claim that they do not hinder the returnees is contradicted by their vetting of lists and the exclusion of undesirable individuals for security and political reasons.

Furthermore, the sources emphasized that the Syrian regime has not been forthcoming in providing assistance to the Lebanese government in exchange for support from the Arab ministerial committee. This is despite Syria’s interest in normalizing its Arab relations, especially following its return to the Arab League.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.


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