Dozens of Syrian refugees gathered Monday at the Shebaa public school in Nabatieh to return home to Syria, the state-run National News Agency reported.
Ten buses, provided by the Syrian government, are set to take 204 Syrians who voluntarily signed up to return Monday. They will pass through Lebanon’s Jabal al-Sheikh and then the Masnaa border crossing to enter Syria.
In the meantime, General Security is working to finalize the papers of those who registered to leave, according to new regulations that were put in place earlier this month.
The families returning Monday were part of a list originally comprising over 3,000 people who had signed up in Arsal, where tens of thousands of refugees who had fled the violence of Syria’s civil war are still residing in camps. The list went through General Security, the only Lebanese governmental agency that formally communicates with the Syrian government, to ensure that there were no security concerns for the returning families.
More than 1,500 Syrian refugees have already departed Lebanon in border crossings organized by General Security. While many refugees have said they were returning voluntarily, others have been quoted as saying that living conditions in Lebanon had become so bad that they had no choice but to leave. Others still have expressed anxiety over returning to a country ravaged by seven-and-a-half years of war.
Lebanon hosts close to 1 million Syrian refugees, an estimated quarter of the country’s population, with some officials putting that number much higher, at around 1.5 million.John Bolton makes the case for hunting witches