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News > World

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Hold Diverse Views on Returning Plan

  • A Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon.

    A Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon. | Photo: Twitter/ @hrw

Published 14 July 2022

Currently, Lebanon remains the country hosting the largest number of refugees per capita with the government's estimation of 1.5 million Syrian refugees.

Earlier in July, the Lebanese government announced a plan to secure the return of 15,000 Syrian refugees monthly to their homeland regardless of the position of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in this regard.


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The UNHCR did not agree to a number of items that were put forward by Lebanon, including the request to suspend the payment of aid to Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and has withdrawn from the tripartite committee proposed by Lebanon's Minister of Displaced Issam Charafeddine.

Bassem Abou Odeh, a Syrian refugee who now works at a workshop for machinery maintenance, said that the displaced community is divided between optimists and pessimists regarding this plan. He hoped that Lebanese authorities would carefully study and wait until the security situation subsides completely in Syria, as some areas, including Raqqa and Idlib, still suffer from kidnappings and killing incidents by terrorists.

Abou Hamed Hassan Jabra, a Syrian sergeant responsible for a group of displaced people in Lebanon's eastern village of Qaraoun, said that some refugees are expecting to return after the Lebanese government announced its return plan which seemed serious and firm.

Meanwhile, a large proportion of the displaced will face huge challenges as some may have established small businesses or engaged in work in Lebanon and their return will force them to lose everything and start from scratch in their homeland, he noted.

"Most of the refugees hope to return to Syria one day but many of them informed the commission that they are still concerned about several factors, including safety, housing, access to basic services and livelihoods," said Dalal Harb, the media advisor at UNHCR. 

"Lebanon has a duty to abide by the principles of protecting refugees on its territories, and allowing them the voluntary right to return in safety and dignity," she pointed out, adding that the international community must continue to stand by Lebanon by supporting the most vulnerable people, displaced Syrian and Lebanese alike.

Lebanon remains the country hosting the largest number of refugees per capita with the government's estimation of 1.5 million Syrian refugees, yet the dire economic situation in Lebanon has negatively affected the livelihood of the Lebanese and also the displaced, whereby nine out of ten Syrian refugees live in extreme poverty.

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