Lebanese security authorities: 500 Syrian refugees on way back home

BEIRUT (dpa)- Some 500 Syrian refugees who fled their war-torn country to south-eastern Lebanon were on their way back to Syria on Wednesday, Lebanese security authorities and state media said.
At least 15 buses carrying the Syrian refugees left Shebaa on Wednesday, travelling towards the Lebanese-Syrian border, according to media reports.

The Lebanese General Security department said in a statement that the refugees would be escorted from Shebaa to the Syrian border.
A Lebanese security official told dpa the refugees were returning back to Beit Jinn, a government-held town south-west of the Syrian capital, Damascus.
The official said the refugees had "decided to leave voluntarily towards Syria" in the first such move organized by the Lebanese authorities.
The UN refugee agency UNHCR said it was aware of the return of the families but that it had not been involved in the effort.
"UNHCR is not involved in the organization of these returns or other returns at this point, considering the prevailing humanitarian and security situation in Syria," a statement by the agency said.
It added that it respected refugees' own decisions to return to their country of origin "when taken without undue pressure."
There are some 1 million UN-registered Syrian refugees still living in Lebanon. Most of them live in dire economic conditions in informal camps across the country.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun and other officials have been calling on the refugees to return to their home country, especially since the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began announcing victories across the war-torn country.

Thursday, April 19th 2018

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