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11/08/2017 - 17:14hs

Over 600,000 Syrians have returned home

From January to July, most returnees were internally displaced or had relocated to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. The UN believes this is not a durable solution.

George Ourfalian/AFP

Aleppo: many returnees were displaced for the second or third time

São Paulo – Over 600,000 displaced Syrian citizens returned to their homes in the first seven months of this year, the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported. As per a survey conducted by the IOM with support from partner organizations, 84% of people who returned were either domestically displaced or living as refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

According to the IOM, 27% of respondents said they were returning to protect their property and 25% claimed the economy improved in their area. They also said they were returning because safety conditions had improved (11%), because the economy had worsened in the place they had moved to (14%), and due to social, cultural or political issues (11%).

Last year, half of all returns were to the Aleppo, and the same holds true this year: 405,420 individuals returned to Aleppo Governorate, 27,620 to Idleb Governorate, 75,209 to Hama Governorate, 45,300 to Ar-Raqqa Governorate, 21,346 to rural Damascus and 27,861 to other governorates.

They poll also revealed that 97% returned to their own homes. The other 3% are living with hosts, in abandoned houses, in informal settlements or rented accommodation. Approximately 80% of returnees have access to food and household items, but less than half have access to water or health services.

Despite the returnee numbers, the IOM said displacement rates remain high in Syria. From January to July, 806,661 people left their homes – far more than the number of those who returned. Many of them were leaving for the second or third time. There are over 6 million people displaced within the country.

The IOM adds that returns have mainly been spontaneous, but not necessarily voluntary, safe or sustainable, and cannot considered a durable solution.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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