Syrian official urges int’l community to facilitate return of refugees

Syrian assistant foreign minister Ayman Sousan on Wednesday urged the international community to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to their country.

Speaking to Xinhua on the sidelines of the two-day International Refugees Conference held in the capital Damascus, Sousan said the Syrian government’s message to the international community is to stop hindering the return of refugees for political reasons.

“Our message to the international community is to stop placing obstacles in the face of the return of refugees. All the political agendas and interests are so narrow in comparison with the humanitarian issue of the refugees,” he said.

The Syrian official stressed the Syrian government’s willingness to take more measures to facilitate the return of refugees.

“As the Syrian government has taken many steps, it will continue to undertake more measures to facilitate the return of refugees and to provide what is necessary to guarantee dignified living conditions for them in Syria,” Sousan remarked.

Around 27 countries, 12 organizations and several foreign ambassadors in Syria attended the conference, which is co-organized by Russia.

Lebanon and Jordan, which host large numbers of refugees were invited. However, Turkey, which hosts the highest number of Syrian refugees in the region, was not invited by the Syrian government due to the role of Turkey in supporting the rebel groups in northern Syria.

More than half of Syria’s pre-war population of 23 million people have fled their homes, including 5.5 million who went abroad, according to official data.