Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that Syrian refugees will start returning to their home country by the end of next week.
“We will witness the beginning of the return of Syrians to their country in groups, which is an important issue for us,” an official statement quoted the President as saying on Wednesday.
Minister of the Displaced Issam Charafeddine told Xinhua that Lebanon will start implementing next week his Ministry’s strategy of returning 15,000 Syrian refugees monthly in cooperation with Syrian authorities, who have already opened 480 housing centres to receive the displaced from Lebanon.
He said that he had already submitted a list on September 25 to the Lebanese General Security, which is responsible for coordinating with Syrian authorities on refugees’ return.
According to Charafeddine, the list contained 483 families willing to return to their homeland.
At the same time, he is receiving more lists of refugees wishing to return to Syria.
“Syrian authorities will offer all needed facilities to ensure a safe return for Syrian refugees. Moreover, Russia will offer food for returning refugees for months and support the reconstruction of infrastructure in destroyed areas of Syria,” Charafeddine added.
Lebanon hosts the world’s largest number of refugees per capita, with a government estimate of the Syrian refugees in the country at 1.5 million.
Having been struggling with a worsening financial crisis since late 2019, Lebanon has repeatedly said the influx of refugees weighs heavily on the country’s economy and infrastructure.