About 8,000 refugees who fled the war in Syria have returned to the country since the beginning of 2019, according to a report released by the United Nations food program on Thursday.
Relying on interviews and government departure records, the agency verified that 7,889 Syrian refugees have returned on their power this year. As of March, some 5.6 million Syrians remain refugees in the neighboring countries of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.
In December, the U.N.’s refugee agency projected that as many as 250,000 refugees could return to Syria in 2019.
“That figure can go up and down according to the pace with which we are … removing the obstacles to return,” Amin Awad, head of UNHCR’s Middle East and North Africa operations, said at the time.
The agency said that 117,000 refugees had returned to Syria since 2015, including 37,000 last year.
While the country’s devastating conflict continues to wind down, Awad warned returnees can face a whole host of obstacles, such as a dire lack of education, healthcare, and sanitation in the places to which they return.
There are also obstacles related to physical security even in places where the fighting has stopped, including large amounts of unexploded ordinance.
Source: The Globe Post.