Syrian refugees embark on organized return from Lebanon

BEIRUT: Hundreds of Syrian families gathered at pickup points across Lebanon Tuesday morning to return to their home country, the state-run National News Agency reported.

In the latest refugee return to be organized by Lebanon’s General Security in cooperation with the Syrian government, hundreds of Syrian families boarded buses in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.

The group will be heading to the Masnaa and Abboudieh border crossings, to start leaving Lebanon at 5 p.m., according to the NNA.

The report said that about 200 refugees from Tripoli are set to return through Masnaa, where the Syrian government will provide buses to take the returnees back to several villages.

Dozens of Syrian refugees meanwhile gathered in Shebaa and Nabatieh in southern Lebanon to return to several Syrian villages around Mount Hermon, as had been announced Monday by General Security.

General Security buses also transported Syrian families who gathered in Metn’s Burj Hammoud Stadium east of Beirut, heading to the Masnaa border crossing, where they will join the larger group of returnees, the NNA said.

The return from Burj Hammoud is the first to be organized from Mount Lebanon, which, according to local news channel Al Jadeed, saw 50 people gather there to make the journey.

Several media outlets reported varying numbers of returnees. When contacted by The Daily Star, a General Security spokesperson could not confirm the exact number of refugees or their destinations in Syria.

According to the NNA, the Health Ministry provided vaccinations to nearly 100 of the refugees returning Tuesday, the majority of them children, in cooperation with the Lebanese Red Cross.