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Syrian refugees risk journey home amid dire situation in Lebanon

Syrian refugees risk journey home amid dire situation in Lebanon

Syrian refugees in Lebanon say their staying in the camp brings no perspectives at all, so they even considering heading back to war-torn Syria. Now, such a journey becomes very dangerous.

For many Syrian refugees who live in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, a few kilometres south of Damascus, Lebanon will never be home because Syria is. In 2013, many refugees and their families have planned to stay in Lebanon for a few months but they stack over there for years.

The security situation in the camp is precarious, and the people there are very poor. But the saddest thing is refugees from Syria have almost no social contacts because they are strangers in Lebanon where the atmosphere itself is tense. All the extra refugees have increased the pressure in the informal labor market; affordable living space is also in short supply.

And many Lebanese blame the refugees, among others, for everything that’s wrong with their country. According to the UNHCR, there are more than 950,000 Syrians registered in Lebanon. The true figure is assumed to be much higher.

According to the feared head of Syria’s Air Force Intelligence Directorate, Jamil Hassan, there are 3 million Syrians on wanted lists. Opposition activists and their relatives in particular risk arrest, blackmail, and torture if they return.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese government wants to get rid of the Syrian refugees, and the sooner the better. Despite the government is offering to lay on a bus one Thursday a month to return Syrians who want to go voluntarily, the human rights organizations say that Lebanon isn’t working with them on this.

For refugees, staying in a Lebanese refugee camp is not an option but Syria also cannot be described as a safe place to live.