Over 600,000 Syr­i­ans re­turn home, mainly to Aleppo: UN

The Miracle - - Middle East - Source: AN_Mo­bile Arab News

GENEVA: More than 600,000 dis­placed Syr­i­ans have re­turned to their homes since the be­gin­ning of the year, with most of them head­ing to Aleppo, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from the In­ter­na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Mi­gra­tion (IOM). Be­tween Jan­uary and the end of July, 602,759 dis­placed Syr­i­ans re­turned to their homes, many of them cit­ing an im­proved eco­nomic and se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in the ar­eas they had fled from, the IOM said in a state­ment. A to­tal of 84 per­cent of those who have re­turned had taken refuge else­where within the war-rav­aged coun­try, while the re­main­ing 16 per­cent re­turned from neigh­bor­ing coun­tries Turkey, Le­banon, Jor­dan and Iraq. More than a quar­ter of re­turnees said they did so to pro­tect their as­sets and prop­er­ties, while nearly the same num­ber re­ferred to the im­proved eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion in their place of ori­gin, and 11 per­cent cited the im­proved se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion there. Four­teen per­cent pointed to the wors­en­ing eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion in their place of refuge, the IOM said. But while most of the re­turns had been spon­ta­neous, it warned they were “not nec­es­sar­ily vol­un­tary, safe or sus­tain­able,” it said. Aleppo gov­er­norate, the scene of the harsh- est bat­tles of Syria’s bloody six-year war, had re­ceived 67 per­cent of all re­turnees so far this year, the IOM said. And within the gov­er­norate, Aleppo city, which was re­cap­tured by the Syr­ian army last De­cem­ber af­ter a suf­fo­cat­ing five-month siege, has re­ceived most re­turnees, it said. Many of those re­turn­ing mean­while must strug­gle to get bare ne­ces­si­ties, with only 41 per­cent hav­ing ac­cess to clean wa­ter and 39 per­cent with ac­cess to health ser­vices. This “is dan­ger­ously low as the coun­try’s in­fra­struc­ture has been ex­tremely dam­aged by the con­flict,” the IOM said. And even as re­turns from within Syria es­pe­cially ap­pear to be on the rise, the agency warned that the war-torn coun­try is still see­ing high rates of fresh dis­place­ment. “From Jan­uary to July 2017, an es­ti­mated 808,661 peo­ple were dis­placed, many for the sec­ond or third time, and over 6 mil­lion in to­tal cur­rently re­main dis­placed within the coun­try,” it said. Sep­a­rately, UN agen­cies have ex­pressed “deep con­cern” for the safety and se­cu­rity of nearly 50,000 Syr­i­ans stranded in the desert near their war-wracked coun­try’s south­ern bor­der with Jor­dan. A state­ment is­sued on Sun­day in Am­man said an es­ti­mated 4,000 peo­ple at Hadalat and 45,000 mostly women and chil­dren at Ruk­ban were stuck on the fron­tier. A sui­cide bomb­ing claimed by Daesh in June last year killed seven Jor­da­nian sol­diers in no­man’s land near the Ruk­ban bor­der er cross­ing.cross­ing Soon af­ter­ward, the army de­clared Jor­dan’s desert re­gions that stretch north­east to Syria and east to Iraq “closed mil­i­tary zones.” Jor­dan is part of the US-led coali­tion fight­ing Daesh. “Airstrikes have been re­ported in the area in the last few days, caus­ing se­ri­ous dis­tress and panic among the pop­u­la­tion fear­ing for their lives with the height­ened risk of es­ca­lated hos­til­i­ties,” Sun­day’s state­ment said. It said that although no ca­su­al­ties have yet been re­ported among the stranded Syr­i­ans, “the area is in­creas­ingly un­safe,” prompt­ing some peo­ple to leave. Thi This ex­posed dh them to “f “fur­therh d dan­ger andd de­pri­va­tion in an in­hos­pitable desert lo­ca­tion, un­sure of where to go in search of safety.” The UN said the most vul­ner­a­ble, mostly women and chil­dren, were un­able to re­turn home be­cause of the war in Syria. Jor­dan shares a desert bor­der of more than 370 km with Syria. The UN refugee agency says it has reg­is­tered more than 650,000 Syr­ian refugees in Jor­dan since the con­flict be­gan. Am­man says it is host­ing 1.3 mil­lion Syr­ian refugees.

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