Pres. Michel Aoun has a good relationship with President Assad of Syria, and wants the Syrian refugees to go home as soon as possible, given that much of the country is stable. He sees no obstacle to the natural return of refugees. In a meeting with State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin in Moscow, Pres. Aoun warned that Syrian refugees could create a new wave of migration to Europe unless supported in their natural right to return home.
“As many as 167,000 displaced Syrians have returned from Lebanon to their country,” Pres. Aoun said while meeting with a French delegation in Beirut.
The Lebanese government hosts 1.5 million Syrian refugees, with an additional 280,000 refugees from Palestine; that makes the refugees nearly a third of the population of 4.5 million.
Maronite priest Father Emmanuel Nakhle feels it puts the national interests of Lebanon in grave risk by allowing the Syrian refugees’ condition to deteriorate, which may lead to extremism and chaos.
Given the fact that Lebanon is a small country; it is overly burdened. Socially, the Lebanese are resentful of Syrian refugees. The warm welcome has long ago turned to a cold shoulder. The Lebanese economy is in ruins; partly because of corruption and domestic mismanagement, and partly due to the war in Syria, which has destabilized the region. The Lebanese citizens are struggling to find a job; they can’t easily share the few income opportunities they have with more than a million strangers.
The UN has used scare tactics to prevent Syrians returning home. The UN wants a full political upheaval in Syria before they allow refugees to go home. They are using the Syrian refugees as tools in their belt to effect radical political changes in Syria.
The UN, EU and US position on Syria is the same: they won’t support refugee return or reconstruction in Syria to begin until a political reconstruction has been achieved. The US-NATO attack on Syria was for the purpose of regime change and resource acquisition. They lost the war; however, they insist on achieving the goals that they failed to win using their proxy army of jihadists on the battlefields.
They want the elected President to hand over power to a western appointed transitional President from the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood, and to discard the constitution which was ratified in 2012. They want to engineer regime change, and the end to the secular form of government in Syria, in order to institute a Parliamentary form of government which would allow for religious based political parties, such as the outlawed terrorist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood.
The EU sponsored Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region was attended by the Prime Minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri, and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil. The two Lebanese leaders expressed differing opinions: while Hariri feels the time is not right for the return of Syrian refugees, Bassil voiced Pres. Aoun’s view that the present state of Syria could accept their return.
The conference took on a decidedly more political tone this year, as Federica Mogherini, the EU’s top diplomat, said she had conveyed to U.N. special envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen “on how to use this conference not only for a humanitarian pledge ... but also for defining how we can support a political transition in Syria and the U.N. role in this respect.”
The Syrian government and Russia has expressed willingness for refugees to return. In the coming recovery and rebuilding phase soon to begin in Syria, these Syrians will be needed to fill many jobs which will be available.
The returning refugees demonstrate that “the war is over and the country’s restoration is proceeding at full pace,” said Russian Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev. Nearly 114,000 Syrian refugees have returned home as of December 2018.
The Russian government has been part of the reconciliation and negotiation process, and has seen area after area return to peace and security following the expulsion of armed terrorists. The more Syrian refugees return, the more stability will be established, and restored communities will gradually emerge from the ruins.