Nearly 250,000 refugees have returned to Syria from abroad since the campaign for the return of refugees began, Head of the Russian National Defense Management Center Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev said at a briefing on Wednesday.
“Thanks to the measures taken, a total of 1,472,637 Syrians have been able to return home,” he said, adding that “1,230,342 internally displaced persons have returned and another 242,295 Syrian refugees have come back from abroad,” the Russian general added.
He pointed out that more countries were joining the efforts aimed at facilitating the return of Syrian refugees. In particular, Morocco’s authorities have expressed readiness to pay the travel expenses of those willing to return to their home country and provide the refugees with the financial assistance of $150 per person.
Mizintsev also said that Armenia had been providing assistance to Syria on a regular basis, planning to carry out another humanitarian mission in the province of Aleppo in the near future.
The general pointed to the ongoing work to reconstruct Syria’s infrastructure facilities. “Over the past week, 143 residential dwellings, two schools, two medical facilities, two kindergartens, two bakeries, seven water supply stations, three power substations, three motor bridges and 14 industrial facilities were rebuilt,” Mizintsev said. The reconstruction of schools, pre-school facilities and other infrastructure facilities continues in 160 Syrian settlements.
Attempts are being made to discourage refugees residing in Syria’s neighboring states from returning to their home country, he added.
According to him, special questionnaires allegedly sponsored by a United Nations high commissioner are being used for that purpose.
“These questionnaires are aimed at raising doubts in the minds of Syrians who have decided to return home and make them eventually change their decision,” the Russian general said.
“We do not rule out that these questionnaires are used by forces not linked to official United Nations agencies,” he added.
Alexander Morozov, an academician with the International Academy of Psychological Sciences, in turn, said the list of questions proved that those compiling the questionnaires did not try to remain impartial and use neutral words but sought to exert psychological pressure on refugees.