Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, and Jordan have ongoing plans to repatriate Syrian refugees: PM Mikati

Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, and Jordan have ongoing plans to repatriate Syrian refugees: PM Mikati

Shafaq News/ Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced on Tuesday that the country has reached out to Iraq, Egypt, and Jordan to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to their country by creating safe zones within Syria.

During a ministerial session on Tuesday, Mikati discussed the "Eighth Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region" held on Monday.

He stated that, for the first time, Lebanon, through its Foreign Minister, presented a clear and specific action plan to manage the Syrian refugee issue in Lebanon.

This plan, adopted by the government and endorsed by parliamentary recommendations, involves coordinated efforts among ministries and agencies within set time frames.

Mikati added, "During the discussions, the Lebanese Foreign Minister, with whom I was in constant contact, emphasized Lebanon's request to initiate an early recovery plan in Syria, separate the refugee issue from political considerations, and establish safe zones in Syria for the refugees' return."

He noted that the Lebanese Foreign Minister had contacted Arab ministers from countries hosting Syrian refugees—Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, and Syria—and agreed on a unified plan to engage with the Syrian government and support early recovery in Syria.

At the conference, Lebanon stressed the need for support and aid to encourage Syrians to return to their homeland, he said.

According to Mikati, Lebanon reached an agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on all the points raised by Lebanon, most notably the handover of all data held by the commission concerning “displaced” Syrians.

On Monday, parties participating in the Brussels 8th Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region pledged financial assistance worth 7.5 billion euros ($8.1 billion) in grants and loans to aid Syrians, during the donor ministerial conference in the Belgian capital, Brussels.

The European Union also pledged an additional 560 million euros for 2025 for host countries (Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq), in addition to a commitment to provide 1 billion euros to support Syrian refugees in Turkey.

In 2024, an estimated 16.7 million people in Syria are assessed to need humanitarian aid, marking a 9% increase from the previous year, according to U.N. agencies.

Nearly 7 million children need humanitarian assistance in Syria, as reported by the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), as of 2023. Within Syria, 6.8 million people are displaced — the largest number worldwide and the highest since the conflict’s start.

Neighboring Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye) hosts the largest refugee population by a single country worldwide, with over 3.7 million refugees. Approximately 2 million Syrian refugee children are out of school, and an additional 1.6 million are at risk of dropping out.

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake on February 6, 2023, and its aftershocks devastated northwest Syria and southeast Turkey, resulting in thousands of casualties and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.

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