United Nations agency: Over 600000 displaced Syrians returned home so far this year

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region-More than 600,000 Syrian refugees have returned home in the past seven months, says the United Nations migration agency (IOM), majority from inside Syria and others from neighboring countries for reasons of saving their properties or improved situation back home.

Well over half, approximately 67 percent, of the returning refugees have been to the Aleppo Governorate, where an estimated 405,420 individuals have been registered by the IOM as having returned.

The report said most of the people returning to their homes, 84 percent, are internally displaced, while 16 percent are returning refugees from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

The IOM report goes on to say: “An estimated 27 per cent of the returnees stated that they did so to protect their assets or properties and 25 per cent referred to the improved economic situation in their area of origin”.

Within the Aleppo Governorate, Aleppo City recieved the highest number of returnees. The report shows that similar trends have been observed in 2017. Others returned to such places as Idleb, Hama, Raqqa provinces and the Damascus countryside.

“As the security situation changes in different parts of the country, displacement can occur again”, she said. The total figure by end of July this year was already close to the 685,662 returns identified in the whole of 2016. They also said they were returning because safety conditions had improved (11%), because the economy had worsened in the place they had moved to (14%), and due to social, cultural or political issues (11%).

Despite the returnee numbers, the IOM said displacement rates remain high in Syria. According to the IOM, “an estimated 808,661 people were displaced, many for the second or third time, and over 6 million in total now remain displaced within the country”.

IDP returns have mainly been spontaneous but not necessarily voluntary, safe or sustainable.

The IOM adds that returns have mainly been spontaneous, but not necessarily voluntary, safe or sustainable, and can not considered a durable solution.