Change and Reform Urges Returning Refugees to Syria in Coordination with Damascus

The Change and Reform parliamentary bloc on Tuesday called for the return of Syrian refugees to their country and for communication with the Syrian government in this regard.

“The higher Lebanese interest comes before anything else and this interest necessitates that the refugees return home and it is in the interest of Syrians as well,” Justice Minister Salim Jreissati said after the bloc's weekly meeting in Rabieh.

“There are no taboos or complexes (regarding communication) with the Syrian state with which we share diplomatic representation,” Jreissati added.

“There are vast safe zones in Syria and there are no reasons that prevent their return,” Jreissati went on to say, warning that the refugee crisis has started to pose an existential threat to the Lebanese entity.

Earlier in the day, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq stressed that “Lebanon will not return any refugee without international guarantees,” noting that “only the U.N. can specify the safe zones that the refugees can return to according to a paper that was prepared by the previous government and on which all political forces had agreed.”

Hizbullah deputy chief Sheikh Naim Qassem has also called for returning refugees to safe zones in Syria.

Lebanon, of around 4.5 million people, has over one million registered Syrian refugees.

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