Lebanese president insists on return of Syrian refugees

Lebanese children look from the rooftop of their home at a Syrian camp in the eastern Lebanese border town of Arsal. (AP/File)
Updated 25 June 2019

Lebanese president insists on return of Syrian refugees

  • Aoun calls on the UN to provide assistance to internally displaced people inside Syria

BEIRUT: Lebanese President Michel Aoun has insisted on the return of Syrian refugees in Lebanon to their country, even if not to where they had been displaced.

He told a visiting US delegation on Monday that the return of refugees “can’t wait for a political solution to the Syrian crisis, as it may take time due to international tensions over the Syrian situation.”

Aoun said: “The wave of Syrian displacement has produced negative repercussions that has impacted all Lebanese sectors.”

He added: “Lebanon, which has provided all the humanitarian and logistical facilities for refugees during the Syrian war, believes that Syrian territory, except for Idlib (province) and its surrounding area, is now stable, making it easier for refugees to return.”

Aoun called on the UN to provide assistance to internally displaced people (IDPs) inside Syria in order to encourage refugees to return and contribute to their country’s reconstruction.

The wave of Syrian displacement has produced negative repercussions that has impacted all Lebanese sectors.

Michel Aoun, Lebanese president

“Lebanon continues to organize return trips for refugees in coordination with the concerned Syrian authorities, who welcome their return,” he said, adding that his country “hasn’t been informed of any returnees getting harassed.”

The head of the delegation, Frederic Hof, said that after its meetings with Lebanese officials, it will submit a report on ideas, stances and proposals to resolve the Syrian crisis and its repercussions.

Some 1 million Syrians in Lebanon are registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The Lebanese General Security said it has facilitated the return of 172,046 refugees between December 2017 and March 19, 2019, through legal crossings.


Iraq’s president warns fight against terrorism far from over

Updated 33 min 43 sec ago

Iraq’s president warns fight against terrorism far from over

  • The president said he hoped to receive aid to help stop the financing of lawless organizations and extremism
  • He added that low oil prices and the economic consequences of COVID-19 have caused major challenges

LONDON: The fight against terrorism is far from over in Iraq despite the country freeing its cities from Daesh, President Barham Salih said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, Salih said that “transnational extremism continues to exist in the forms of sleeping cells scattered across Iraq including the desert regions,” and that the country cannot let its guard down now.
He added that Iraq should not underestimate the danger represented by terrorism and the possibility that it may reemerge.
The president said he hoped to receive aid from friendly countries to help stop the financing of lawless organizations and extremism.
He added that low oil prices and the economic consequences of COVID-19 have caused major challenges to Iraq but that it continues to fight the pandemic.
Iraq has recently recorded several thousand new coronavirus infections each day, and the total now exceeds 300,000.
More than 8,000 people have died in the country so far and doctors are terrified of being attacked by the relatives of those who have died from the disease.
Salih also spoke about another scourge that has ravaged his country for years — endemic corruption.
He said the problem had “contributed to the destruction of Iraq for many years.”
Iraq is trying to tackle corruption and corrupt individuals and elections due to be held next year are a result of the demands of protesters for change, he said.
The elections must be free and fair, Salih said. He added that he hoped the UN would provide technical assistance to ensure transparency.