UN Projects 250,000 Refugees Could Go Back To Syria In 2019

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Syrian internally displaced people walk in the Atme camp, along the Turkish border in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, on March 19, 2013. The conflict in Syria between rebel forces and pro-government troops has killed at least 70,000 people, and forced more than one million Syrians to seek refuge abroad. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) released a report that estimated 250,000 Syrian refugees could return to their country in 2019. 

Amin Awad, UNHCR director for the
Middle East and North Africa said on Tuesday that 5.6 million Syrian refugees
remain in neighboring countries, namely Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and
Iraq.

Among the refugees are an estimated
one million Syrian children born abroad whose foreign birth certificates the
Syrian government has agreed to recognize, he said.

“We are forecasting
… up to 250,000 Syrians go back in 2019. That figure can go up and down
according to the pace with which we are working and removing these obstacles to
return,” Awad stressed.

“Now, by and large, the war has
ended. We have a few pockets [of hostilities], including Idlib, and there is a
negotiated ceasefire and a de-escalation zone.”

Awad pointed out that refugees who
intend to go home will hurdle a lot of obstacles including documentation for
the refugees and their properties and homes.

The government also needs to clear
agricultural and civilian areas of the war torn country to make it a safer
place to return to. 

“Then there are issues related
to conscription, there are issues related to amnesty for those who deserted the
army. These are drivers that would basically keep people away, they are
obstacles.”

These returning refugees are already
struggling financially and Awad appealed for support on their behalf.

“Their living conditions have
deteriorated as their existence in exile prolongs. They have been borrowing
money, they are indebted and a lot of them are living below the poverty line –
70 to 80 percent of them are living below the poverty line in their host
communities or countries,” Awad said.

“We are asking donors to stay
the course.”

It is important that the returning
refugees will have the foundation to rebuild their lives, community and
country.  Their fate is crucial to the
economic recovery of Syria.

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