The number of registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon has dropped to below one million for the first time since 2014, the UN told AFP on Tuesday (December 26th).
As of the end of November, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) counted 997,905 Syrian refugees, the majority of them women and children, registered in Lebanon.
"The number reached one million in April 2014, and this is the first time it drops below that," UNHCR spokeswoman Lisa Abou Khaled said.
Numbers were decreasing, Abou Khaled said, as refugees had resettled in third countries, returned to their homes in Syria, or passed away.
From 2011 until September this year, nearly 49,000 Syrians left Lebanon as part of the UN’s resettlement programme to third countries, including the US, Sweden, and France.
Others left on their own, making the dangerous sea journey to reach Europe.
"We cannot confirm how many returned to Syria. They do not necessarily tell us, but we know it is a few thousand in 2017," Abou Khaled said.
She said the UN revises its numbers on a quarterly basis to assess who remained in Lebanon and what support they required.