750,000 Syrians have returned to their homes since January this year while more than 920,000 people became refugees in the first four months. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that more and more internally displaced people are coming back to their homes. In the first six months of 2018, an estimated 750,000 children, women and men from different regions have returned to where they lived before the revolt against President Bashar al Assad.
Experts assume that the increasing willingness to return back home is a result of the military successes of pro-government forces. In recent months, the government forces and their allies have retaken much of Syria’s territory. Rebels were forced to retreat from Aleppo, Homs and the suburbs around Damascus. Despite the return back home, the joblessness is high and families can barely make their ends meet. More than 70% of Syrians live in extreme poverty and have less than two dollars per person per day at their disposal. Hospitals, health centers and schools almost never work.
Martin Keßler, head of the humanitarian NGO Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe, thinks that a debate on Syria returnees is premature. “As long as there is no lasting peace, nothing changes in the perspective of the people.” That Assad succeeded in consolidating his power in the country again benefited the aid organization indirectly, he says. Despite some good news, more than 920,000 people became refugees between January and April this year, a record number since 2011 when the war started. This is attributed to fighting in the south of the country, which forced about 6 million people out of their homes. Living in shabby shelters, most of the displaced Syrians are in acute need of food, water and medicines.