500 Syria Refugees Begin Returning Home from Lebanon

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Around 500 Syrian refugees left southern Lebanon on Wednesday under an agreement between authorities in Beirut and Damascus that provides for their return to their home country.

The U.N.'s refugee agency said it was aware of the returns but was not involved in the agreement, "considering the prevailing humanitarian and security situation in Syria."

On Wednesday, 15 buses provided by Syria reached the southern Lebanese town of Shebaa to transport refugees out.

They were accompanied by Lebanon's General Security forces, which are present along the country's borders. 

An estimated 500 Syrian refugees, who had been living for years in Shebaa after fleeing the war in their neighboring homeland, boarded the buses. 

Men, women, and children shielded their eyes from the spring sun as they boarded a bus whose front window was decorated with a portrait of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

Lebanon's National News Agency said the operation was taking place in coordination with General Security and based on lists of names provided in advance. 

And Syrian state news agency SANA said the refugees would be returning to the village of Beit Jin and surroundings territory, which lie southwest of Damascus. 

Syria's government recaptured Beit Jin in recent months through a deal that saw jihadists and civilians bussed out of the village. 

Since it broke out in 2011, Syria's war has killed more than 350,000 people and displaced millions more, both internally and to neighboring countries. 

Just under one million Syrians are registered as refugees in Lebanon, though many expect the real number is much higher.

In a country of around four million Lebanese, the influx has put strain on water and electrical infrastructure. 

Lebanese government officials and politicians have ramped up calls for Syrians to return home, but the United Nations has consistently warned that conditions in the war-ravaged country are not suitable for such returns. 

Last year, hundreds of Syrian refugees were bussed back to their hometown of Assal al-Ward under a similar arrangement.

Comments 3
Missing un520 18 April 2018, 13:13

I wouldnt use the term "evacuated from shebaa/hasbaya". Its more like "repatriated to Syria". Anyway, they leave with our best wishes and respect for wanting to re-build their country.

Thumb s.o.s 18 April 2018, 15:09

They were precisely 499. None had children born in Lebanon because those are paperless and stateless.

Thumb whyaskwhy 18 April 2018, 21:57

Thats sounds good so another 2,000,000 and we will be back where we were before the start of the Syrian Civil war.