FILE PHOTO: Lebanon's President Michel Aoun delivers a speech at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon, June 25, 2020 REUTERS
Lebanese President Michel Aoun urged on Monday Carmela Godeau, regional director for the Middle East and North Africa at the International Organization for Migration (IOM), to assist Lebanon in the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland.
"We urge IOM to assist in the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland as the explosions of Beirut's port left 300,000 citizens homeless and Lebanon already suffers from several issues and problems," Aoun was quoted as saying by a statement issued by the presidency.
Aoun's remarks came during his meeting with Godeau at Baabda Palace.
Meanwhile, Godeau told Aoun that 120,000 Syrians were sent to foreign countries and there exist 3,000 applications by Syrian refugees asking to be naturalized in foreign countries.
"We will continue our efforts to look into applications of Syrian refugees who asked to be transferred to other countries," she said.
Godeau added that she has launched an appeal to help 50,000 people impacted by the explosions that rocked Beirut's port on Aug. 4.
The flow of Syrian refugees to Lebanon has weighed heavily on the country's economy and infrastructure, prompting Lebanese officials to urge the international community for support in guaranteeing the return of refugees.
More than 1 million Syrian refugees are registered with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Lebanon, while the Lebanese government estimated the true number of Syrians in the country at 1.5 million.