Lebanon’s General Security chief Maj.Gen. Abbas Ibrahim said Thursday that many more displaced Syrians will be returning back to Syria in the future, now that the “situation has stabilized in several Syrian regions,” al-Joumhouria daily reported.
“It is the first step of a thousand miles for the return of displaced Syrians after the stability of the situation in large number of areas. The return is linked to several factors, mainly the Syrian – Syrian reconciliation, and was coordinated between the Syrian authorities and returnees themselves,” Abbas told the daily.
Lebanon’s “security apparatus had the task of managing the process at the logistic and security levels, from the Lebanese regions up to the Syrian border,” he added.
Abbas assured that the Syrians “have returned to their towns and homes voluntarily after their areas became safe, and we in turn will ensure every return in coordination between the Syrian authorities and those who wish to go back.”
Around 500 Syrian refugees left southern Lebanon on Wednesday under an agreement between authorities in Beirut and Damascus that provides for their return to their home country.
The U.N.’s refugee agency said it was aware of the returns but was not involved in the agreement, “considering the prevailing humanitarian and security situation in Syria.”
15 buses provided by Syria reached the southern Lebanese town of Shebaa to transport refugees out.
They were accompanied by Lebanon’s General Security forces, which are present along the country’s borders.
An estimated 500 Syrian refugees, who had been living for years in Shebaa after fleeing the war in their neighboring homeland, boarded the buses.
Since it broke out in 2011, Syria’s war has killed more than 350,000 people and displaced millions more, both internally and to neighboring countries.