Iraq News

Thousands return from Jordan to south Syria as ceasefire holds

Around 1,000 Syrians who sought refuge in Jordan have been returning home each month since July when a ceasefire for southern Syria took force, AFP reported Monday (November 27th).

The ceasefire brokered by Jordan, Russia and the US for the southern Syrian provinces of Daraa, Quneitra and Suweida has largely held since it came into force on July 9th.

Since then "the number of Syrians returning to the country voluntarily has increased", Mohammed al-Hiwari, spokesman for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in Amman, said.

"Today that number has risen to around 1,000 (returnees) per month on average," al-Hiwari added.

Jordan shares a border of more than 370 kilometres with Syria, where upwards of 340,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since its conflict broke out in 2011.

The UN says Jordan is hosting more than 650,000 Syrian refugees, but authorities in the kingdom put their actual number at 1.3 million.

According to al-Hiwari, the number of refugees who returned voluntarily to Syria rose to 1,203 in August and 1,078 in September.

In the six months before the ceasefire, a total of only 1,700 Syrian refugees returned to their home country, he said.

Al-Hiwari stressed that the UNHCR "does not encourage the return to zones in Syria that are deemed unsafe".

The ceasefire brokered in the three southern Syrian provinces is part of a broader plan to create four "de-escalation zones" in opposition-held parts of the country.

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