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Over 600,000 displaced Syrians have returned home this year: UN agency




(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM))

GENEVA, 11th August, 2017 (WAM) -- Over 600,000 displaced Syrians have returned home during the first seven months of 2017, according to the United Nations, UN, migration agency, the International Organisation for Migration, IOM, and its partner organisations.

The findings by the IOM and its partners indicate that 84 percent of the returning people were displaced within Syria, and the rest have returned from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. Refugees returning from Turkey and Jordan have mostly returned to the Aleppo and Al Hasakeh governorates.

An estimated 27 percent of the returnees stated that their reason for returning is to protect their assets or properties, while 25 percent referred to the improved economic situation in their area of origin.

Other factors included the worsening economic situation in their place of refuge, which accounted for 14 percent, while social or cultural issues such as tribal links, political affiliations or obstacle preventing integration in their area of displacement accounted for 11 percent, and the improvement of the security situation in their area of origin accounted for 11 percent.

Half of all returnees in 2016 went to the Aleppo Governorate, and the IMO's report also shows that similar trends have been observed in 2017. Consequently, an estimated 67 percent of the returnees, or 405,420 individuals, returned to the Aleppo Governorate, while 27,620 returned to the Idleb Governorate, 75,209 to the Hama Governorate, 45,300 to the Ar-Raqqa Governorate, 21,346 to Rural Damascus and 27,861 to the other governorates.

The IMO's reports also found that 97 percent have returned to their own house, and 1.8 percent are living with hosts, 1.4 percent in abandoned houses, 0.14 percent in informal settlements and 0.03 percent in rented accommodation.

Some 83 percent and 80 percent of the returnees said that they currently have access to food and household items, respectively, but only 41 percent have access to water and 39 percent to health services. This constitutes a dangerously low level, as the country's infrastructure has been heavily damaged by the conflict.

While the number of returning refugees continues to increase, Syria is still witnessing high rates of displacement. From January to July 2017, an estimated 808,661 people were displaced, many of them for the second or third time, with a total of over six million people currently displaced within the country.

The refugees have also been returning spontaneously, but not always voluntary or under safe or sustainable conditions. Therefore, the situation cannot at present be considered a long-term solution.

WAM/Rasha Abubaker

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Over 600,000 displaced Syrians have returned home this year: UN agency

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