Lebanon’s General Directorate of General Security said there are currently 2,080,000 Syrian refugees on the Lebanese soil, noting that those registered are only 900,000.
General Security Director Major General Abbas Ibrahim said in a press conference on Tuesday that nearly 540,000 displaced Syrians have returned voluntarily to their country since 2017.
He considered the repatriation plan a national duty that needs to be fulfilled, stressing that the Syrian side was very transparent and welcoming while addressing this matter.
Ibrahim regretted the negative repercussions of this matter at all levels, affirming that it should be addressed as soon as possible.
“Lebanon rejects the way humanitarian organizations and others who claim to be humanitarian organizations are tackling this issue with Lebanon and dictating their will,” Ibrahim told reporters.
He said Beirut will not submit to pressure because it prioritizes its people’s interest, affirming that it will not force any refugee to return to Syria against their will.
According sources, three groups will depart Lebanon to Syria on Wednesday.
The first will leave from the Masnaa border crossing between Lebanon and Syria, while the second group will depart from the Lebanese border town of Arsal and will carry around 300 to 400 Syrian refugees bound for al-Zamarani crossing to eastern Qalamoun. The third group will pass through the border crossing at Aboudiya in northern Lebanon.
Up to 6,000 refugees were expected to return home via the voluntary return convoys, but most of the families preferred to wait for their children to finish the school year in Lebanon.
Caretaker Minister of Social Affairs Hector Hajjar announced Tuesday that the gradual repatriation of Syrian refugees living in Lebanon will begin Wednesday.
He visited the General Security center in the Labweh town in northern Bekaa to review the preparations on the ground for the voluntary and safe return of Syrian refugees.