The transfer of the first group of Syrian refugees from the eastern town of Arsal to Syria began today.
“The return of the Syrians to their country is voluntary and not coercive,” the mayor of Arsal, Basil Al-Hujairi, told reporters.
In April, 500 Syrian refugees left the southern Lebanese town of Shebaa in coordination with the Syrian regime and Lebanese security forces.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun said in a tweet on Monday that the Syrian refugee crisis “is a problem that exceeds Lebanon’s ability to bear its financial, economic and security burdens.”
According to the United Nations refugee agency, there are nearly one million registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon, in addition to thousands of unregistered asylum seekers.
Lebanese officials have repeatedly called on Syrian refugees to return home in an effort to alleviate the burden on the country’s resources.