Several hundred Syrian refugees in Lebanon return to Syria - Pakistan Today

Several hundred Syrian refugees in Lebanon return to Syria

ARSAL: Nearly 400 refugees began leaving the Lebanese border town of Arsal to cross into Syria on Thursday, a rare case of returns which Lebanon’s government wants to encourage.
The convoy made up a very small fraction of the one million registered Syrian war refugees across Lebanon – about a quarter of its population – and of the 50,000 which local officials estimate live in Arsal.
People gathered in minivans and tractors in the morning, loading them with mattresses, water tanks and furniture. Lebanese security personnel recorded the names of Syrians as they passed through a checkpoint on the way out of Arsal.
The refugees were headed for Qalamoun across the border, a region cleared of insurgents by Syrian army offensives in which Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement played a leading role.
Those leaving said they had submitted their names to Lebanese authorities, who in turn sent the names to Syria for approval from the state.
Syrian state TV said hundreds of people arrived past a border crossing in the Damascus countryside.
Many said they were happy to be returning to Syria, and while some said their houses were fit to live in, others had heard their homes were destroyed.
“We have been planning to go back for a long time; we are glad things have calmed down,” said Ali Abdullah, 34, leaving with his wife and two young sons. One of the boys was born in Lebanon and had never been to Syria.
“I want to take him back because that is your country, your (home is) not a tent,” Abdullah told his son. He spoke from the same truck he said he drove across the border in four years ago.



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