Only 4,000 Syrian refugees returned from Jordan since border reopening: UN official

Figures of Syrian refugees who returned home from Jordan published recently by some news agencies are "exaggerated" and merely reflect the general traffic at the recently reopened Jaber-Nassib border crossing, UNHCR Representative in Jordan Stefano Severe said Wednesday (December 12th).

Severe said the UNHCR has managed to confirm and verify, through its database, the return of 3,852 refugees who left through the crossing between Jordan and Syria since its reopening on October 15th until December 1st, the Jordan Times reported.

"Since the Jaber border crossing opened on October 15th, many figures have been floated regarding refugee returns. Figures issued by some entities which go into 30,000 plus, are, I would say, a little exaggerated and reflect the general traffic at the border, rather than the actual numbers of refugees," Severe said.

"This is based on a list that the government had shared estimating the number of refugees who returned to Syria at around 4,300," he said.

The difference between the government’s figure and the UNHCR’s is attributed to the fact that many Syrians are not registered with the refugee agency, Severe said.

Out of the 3,852 refugees who have returned, around 50% are from Syria's southern province of Daraa, he said, adding: "We cannot forget that the refugees themselves know when it is safe to go back, and we have to support them in this."

"At the moment, returns are spontaneous," Severe said, adding that the agency’s role currently involves working with the authorities at the border to build capacity to properly manage the process, as well as assist and provide information to refugees who wish to return.

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