Nearly half a million Syrians have returned home this year: UNHCR
GENEVA - ReutersNearly half a million Syrians have returned to their homes so far this year, including 440,000 internally displaced people and more than 31,000 returning from neighbouring countries, the United Nations’ refugee agency said on June 30.
Most returned to Aleppo, Hama, Homs and Damascus, it said, on the view that security had improved in parts of the country.
“This is a significant trend and a significant number,” UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic told a Geneva news briefing.
“Most of these people are returning to check on properties, to find out about family members... They have their own perceptions about the security situation, real or perceived improvements in areas they returning to,” he said.
Since 2015, some 260,000 refugees have spontaneously returned to Syria, primarily from Turkey into northern Syria.
The main factors influencing decisions for refugees to return self-assisted mostly to Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Damascus and to other governorates are primarily linked to seeking out family members, checking on property, and, in some cases, a real or perceived improvement in security conditions in parts of the country, according to the UNHCR.
The UNHCR believes conditions for refugees to return in safety and dignity are not yet in place in Syria. The sustainability of security improvements in many return areas is uncertain, and there remain significant risks of protection thresholds for voluntary, safe and dignified returns not being met in parts of the country.