300 Syrian refugees leave Lebanon camp, return home

Some 300 Syrian refugees left Lebanon on Wednesday to return to their war-ravaged home country, the Official Lebanese National News Agency NNA reported.

The refugees left the al-Nour refugee camp in the north-eastern border town of Arsal for neighbouring Syria’s town of Asal al-Ward amid tight security, NNA said.

It was not immediately clear if they left voluntarily.

Their repatriation comes a week after an attack by militants on Lebanese army soldiers at the al-Nour camp, where the troops were conducting searches for suspected members of the Islamic State extremist militia.

At the time, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the camp, injuring three Lebanese soldiers.

The attack prompted the Lebanese army to carry out a series of raids on Syrian refugee camps in which a number of suspected militants were arrested.

The crackdown has triggered panic among refugees amid alleged security abuses.

Lebanon is home to more than 1.2 million refugees, who mainly live in several informal camps scattered across eastern Lebanon.

According to UN estimates, some 70,000 Syrian refugees live in camps in and around Arsal.

In June, Lebanese President Michel Aoun warned that Syrian refugee camps in the country had turned into safe havens for militants planning terror attacks.

The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR said it had seen this year a “notable trend of spontaneous returns to and within Syria.’’

Around 31,000 Syrian refugees, who had lived in neighbouring Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, have recently returned to the homeland.


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