12 December 2018 UNHCR: 250,000 Syrian refugees could return to their homeland in 2019

UNHCR director for the Middle East and North Africa, Amin Awad, said on Tuesday 11 December that around 5,6 million Syrian refugees remain in neighbouring countries like Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. After 37,000 refugees returned to Syria this year, according to UNHCR figures, Awad added that some more 250,000 could return to their homeland Syria in 2019 despite all difficulties they may face, and UNHCR says it may be related to the deteriorated conditions under which they have to live in refugee camps . He recalled that these figures are likely to change according to the pace the conflict takes, and according to “the pace with which we are working and removing these obstacles to return”. To this regard, Awad stated: “”Now, by and large, the war has ended. We have a few pockets [of hostilities], including Idlib, and there is a negotiated ceasefire and a de-escalation zone.” Nonetheless, there are many different return obstacles, as to documentation, property loses, amnesty for those who deserted the army, mines and unexploded ordnance in the ground, huge instability and danger in the broad sense, etc.