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MOSCOW, July 28, 2018 (MENA) - As many as 265 Syrian refugees returned home on Friday, Russian Ministry of Defense announced on Saturday.

They include 75 women and 131 children, the Russian refugees center said.

Talks on the Syrian crisis are scheduled for July 30-31 in the Black Sea city of Sochi.

ARSAL (Lebanon), July 23, 2018 - Hundreds of Syrian refugees left Lebanon on Monday for their neighbouring home country, an AFP reporter said, the latest such return coordinated between Beirut and Damascus.

In Lebanon's eastern border town of Arsal, men, women and children of all ages piled into cars, minivans and tractors.

Security forces checked the identity papers of those about to make the journey back to Syria with suitcases, boxes of food and even live poultry, an AFP photographer said.

"The voluntary repatriation of around 850 Syrian refugees started" on Monday morning, Lebanon's state news agency NNA reported.

Seven years into Syria's war, Lebanon hosts around 1.5 million Syrian refugees, compared with a local population of 4.5 million.

Over the past few months, more than 800 Syrians have left Lebanon in similar operations organised by the governments of Beirut and Damascus.

Several thousand have also independently left in recent years.

Syria's state news agency SANA said the first of "hundreds of Syrians coming from Lebanese territory" had arrived and were heading to Qalamun outside the capital.

Syria's ally Russia has also put forward plans to the United States to cooperate for the safe return of refugees to Syria.

Moscow has proposed the establishment of working groups in Lebanon and Jordan, to where many refugees have fled, a Russian defence ministry official said on Friday.

An advisor to Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has met Russia's deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov to find out more about the initiative, the premier's office said on Saturday.


BEIRUT, July 7, 2018 (MENA) - A new group of 450 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, have started their journey on Saturday to return to Syria.

The displaced Syrians left the Lebanese town of Arsal, heading for Wadi Hameed area on the Syrian-Lebanese border, under supervision of the Lebanese General Security bodies, in the presence of representatives for the UN Refugee Agency alongside medical teams affiliated to the Lebanese Red Cross.

This is a fully voluntary repatriation operation, that comes on the willingness of the Syrian refugees living in Lebanon, according to the Lebanese General Security.



CAIRO, June 22, 2018 (MENA) – Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed appreciation for the role played by some European countries, particularly Portugal, in their responsiveness with regard to Egypt’s efforts in confronting the issue of refugees and immigrants.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid told reporters that Lisbon recently proposed to resettle some 400 Egypt-based refugees in Portugal in 2018 and 2019 in full cooperation and coordination with the national parties concerned in Egypt.

Responding to questions by reporters about the Portuguese proposal, Abu Zeid said the Cairo-Lisbon fruitful cooperation comes within the framework of the current institutional dialogue between Egypt and the European Union on resettling refugees living in Egypt.

In this regard, he said the two sides’ meeting in Cairo in December 2017 included a recommendation that the European countries resettle a number of Egypt-based refugees, given that it is home to hundreds of thousands of them.

As a result of the recommendation, the UK, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands have resettled hundreds of refugees, Abu Zeid said.




CAIRO, June 20, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt said on Wednesday that the international community must share the burdens of hosting refugees within the framework of joint responsibility.

On his Twitter account, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid renewed Egypt's legal and ethical responsibility towards refugees living on its territories.

Despite economic burdens, Egypt is keen to merge refugees into society, he said.

Abu Zeid's remarks come on the occasion of the World Refugees Day. 

The World Refugee Day is observed on June 20 every year to draw attention to the plight of displaced people around the globe.

Now, there are 68.5 million displaced persons in the world according to the UN refugee agency.

GENEVA, June 12, 2018 (News Wires) - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) hopes the Lebanese foreign ministry will quickly reverse a decision to freeze residency applications the agency has submitted for its staff, its spokesman said on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil ordered the freeze last week after accusing UNHCR of hindering the return of refugees to Syria by “spreading fear”.

Syrian refugees now account for around a quarter of the population of Lebanon - around one million are registered with the United Nations. The Lebanese government wants the refugees to start going home; the UN says it’s not yet safe for them to return.

Beirut is working with Damascus to arrange the return of thousands of refugees it says want to go back to Syria, a top Lebanese official said last month.

“We are very concerned about freezing the issuing of residence permits to international staff in Lebanon,” UNHCR spokesman Andre Mahecic said during a briefing in Geneva. “We hope that the decision of the foreign ministry will be reversed without delay.”

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has been calling for Syrian refugees to return to areas of the country he has described as secure. Aoun says this should happen before a final political solution to the seven-year-long war.

A conference on Syria hosted by the European Union and co-chaired by the United Nations in April said conditions remained unsafe.

“We do not oppose or discourage people returning, when they return based on their own decision and based on informed choice,” Mahecic said.

“It is the reality that some people are returning. They are making their decision to go back,” Mahecic said. “We have also in that regard ramped up our assistance inside Syria where we can be able to support those,” he said.

But fighting in Syria had escalated in a number of areas in the past months, he said, and “given the overall situation, we do not believe conditions are conducive to returns”.

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