In the first half of 2017, 602,759 Syrians displaced by conflict have returned home, according to reports by the United Nation's International Organization for Migration.
Well over half, approximately 67 percent, of the returning refugees have been to the Aleppo Governorate, where an estimated 405,420 individuals have been registered by the IOM as having returned. Hama Governorate has recieved the second highest number of returnees, with 75,209 individuals resettling in their homes.
Within the Aleppo Governorate, Aleppo City recieved the highest number of returnees. Backed with Russian support in a successful offensive to retake the city, the city was returned to Syrian Government control in December 2016 after having previously been under control of the armed opposition.
According to the IOM, the vast majority, 97 percent, of those returning have been able to return to their own houses. The rest are either with hosts, squatting in abandoned houses, in informal refugee settlements, or renting.
While the rate of return for those displaced by the war is steadily increasing, the IOM notes that there are still high rates of displacement in many areas of the country. They estimate that during the same period of time, from January to July of 2017, 808,661 Syrians were displaced.
“IDP returns have mainly been spontaneous but not necessarily voluntary, safe or sustainable. As such, they cannot, at present, be considered within the context of a durable solutions framework,” the UN-based organization wrote.
While the majority of returnees are able to return to their own secure housing, many still face poor access to clean water, health services, and food due to the massive destruction of basic infrastructure that has taken place.
Around 84 percent of those returning home were internally displaced within Syria and are returning due to the shifting boundaries of the conflict. Another 16 percent returned from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, or Iraq.