A fourth batch of Syrian refugees yesterday crossed the border from Lebanon and returned to Syria as part of a “voluntary return” scheme coordinated by the governments of both countries.
The Syrian refugees crossed from the Lebanese town of Arsal under the supervision of the Lebanese General Security Service and the Lebanese army.
The Lebanese National News Agency said nearly 850 displaced persons had returned to Syria; however, Arsal deputy mayor, Rima Karnabi, told the Anadolu Agency that the actual number is much higher because the figures only included the head of each family and did not take into account the spouse and children.
“Hundreds of refugees returned to Syria without informing the authorities, because their residency was legal and therefore they could travel,” she said.
Lebanese officials have repeatedly called on the international community to ensure the return of Syrian refugees to safe pockets of Syria in an effort to reduce pressure on the country’s resources.