Syrian refugees risk being driven home despite violence

By REUTERS
February 5, 2018 22:31
2 minute read.
Breaking news

Breaking news. (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again



BEIRUT - Hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees may be pressured to return to their war-ravaged homeland this year, despite continuing violence, leading aid agencies said on Monday.



They said misleading rhetoric in refugee-hosting countries was creating the false impression that the country was safe for people to return to, even though it remained highly dangerous.



With the conflict now approaching its eighth year, more than 6 million people are uprooted within Syria and more than 5 million are refugees in neighboring countries - mostly in Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan - and also throughout Europe.



Tensions have simmered both in the region and Europe as host nations struggle to cope with the social and financial burden of the refugee crisis, with many of the arrivals coming from Syria.



The aid agencies said deteriorating conditions in these countries and limited options for Syrians to resettle elsewhere could drive many to return home despite the dangers.



"The majority of Syrian refugees and internally displaced live under terrible conditions and want to return home," said Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).



"(But) currently, even in certain so-called de-escalation areas, we've seen bloodshed, targeting of hospitals and schools, and death," he said in a statement.



About 66,000 refugees returned to Syria in 2017, the report said.



But for every refugee or displaced person who returned to Syria last year, three were forced to flee their homes due to the ongoing violence, the agencies said in a joint statement.



"If this continues there will be more vulnerability, more people slipping into poverty, and an increase of negative ways of coping like child labor and child marriage," Joelle Bassoul, spokeswoman for Care International, said by phone from Beirut.



"Inside and outside Syria living conditions are going to deteriorate," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.



Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said last week that Lebanon would not force refugees to return to Syria, but called for more international help in dealing with the crisis.



More than a million Syrians have fled to neighboring Lebanon since the war broke out in 2011 and now account for about a quarter of the country's population of 6 million.



The aid agencies, which also included Save the Children, Action Against Hunger, Danish Refugee Council and International Rescue Committee, also said that Syria's shattered infrastructure could not support an influx of returnees.



Half of the country's health facilities and a third of its schools are out of action amid the conflict, the groups said.

Related Content

Breaking news
August 15, 2018
At least 35 people killed in Genoa bridge collapse, Italian police announce

By REUTERS