Lebanese President Michel Aoun yesterday called for Iran’s help in returning Syrian refugees to their war-torn country.
“The new Lebanese government must take into account their safe return to stable Syrian areas,” Aoun said during his meeting with Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif in Lebanese capital Beirut, National News Agency (NNA) reported.
“Iran has a role to help achieve this return,” Aoun stressed, pointing out that the repercussions of hosting large numbers of Syrian refugees in Lebanon were “critical to the country’s economic, social and security stability”.
The new government – which was formed in January after months of political wrangling – will treat the Syrian refugee issue with “particular importance,” the Lebanese president noted, adding that the administration would appoint a special minister to work on resolving the issue.
More than half of Syria’s 22 million population was displaced by the war, over five million of whom left the country as refugees and mostly fled to neighbouring Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) recently said that the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon was estimated at 997,000.