BEIRUT: Major General Abbas Ibrahim, head of Lebanon’s General Security agency, argued Tuesday that Lebanon is on course to return 200,000 Syrian refugees by next year.
In an interview with Reuters, Ibrahim maintained that 50,000 refugees have returned thus far in coordination with the Syrian authorities.
Lebanon is home to 976,000 registered Syrian refugees according to the U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) yet the government has continuously alluded to a number of 1.5 million scattered across its territory.
Lawmakers have called for their return, arguing that they are posing a significant burden on the country's infrastructure while contributing to the anemic economic state.
Coordination between Damascus and Beirut is ongoing, he said, with around 10 percent on average of those wishing to return being rejected by the Syrian government.
Anyone wanted by the Syrian authorities is told so they can decide whether to stay or go home to “settle their affairs," he said.
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