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US plot aims to prevent displaced Syrians from returning home, warns Hezbollah official

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem gestures as he speaks during an interview with Reuters in Beirut, Lebanon, on March 15, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

A high-ranking member of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has warned about a US plot to prevent the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland so that the displaced people could be used as a pressure “lever” against the Damascus government.

“Tens of thousands have already returned to Syria, and are now living normal lives. Why do some people in Lebanon are standing against the return of displaced people?” Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem said on Saturday.

He said there was a global scheme, spearheaded by Washington, which sought to prevent the return of Syrian refugees under the pretext that the situation in the Arab country was still unstable.

“After they failed to advance their projects through support for militant groups, they have now organized this conspiracy,” Sheikh Qassem pointed out.

The senior Hezbollah official underlined that the US was harming Lebanon through the issue of displaced Syrians as it wanted the Beirut government to remain at the minimum level of efficacy.

Sheikh Qassem, however, said “some political parties in Lebanon will frustrate this scheme, and will sustain the country’s sovereignty.”

“I want to ask those who do not want the return of Syrians: What is your justification? If you are referring to the Lebanese Constitution, the Constitution makes mention of privileged relations with Syria. If you are talking about Lebanon's interests, then it is in the country’s best interests that the refugees return to their country. We have a very difficult economic and social situation…” the Hezbollah deputy secretary general added.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun (Photo by AFP)

On January 20, Lebanese President Michel Aoun urged world powers to “make all efforts” to help the repatriation of Syrian refugees as Damascus forces continue to liberate the country from the clutches of foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorist groups.

“Lebanon calls on the international community to make all efforts possible and provide suitable conditions for a safe return of displaced Syrians,” Aoun told an Arab economic summit in Beirut.

Lebanon’s official National News Agency reported on December 24 last year that more than 1,000 Syrian refugees had returned to their homeland from various areas in Lebanon.

The return of refugees took place in the southern Lebanese cites and districts of Tripoli, Arsal, Tyre and Nabatieh, and under the supervision of Lebanon's General Security in cooperation with the UN refugee agency.

The refugees returned home in buses sent by Syrian authorities throug al-Zamrani, Jdeidat Yabous and al-Dabbousiya border crossings.

Syrian refugees depart from Lebanon as they are waiting in buses sent by Syrian authorities at al-Dabbousiya border crossing on December 24, 2018. (Photo by SANA)

The refugees underwent medical checks and polio vaccines were administered to children. They were then transferred to Syria’s northern and central provinces of Idlib and Homs in addition to other areas in the crisis-stricken Arab country.

More than 1,000 Syrian refugees also returned to their homeland from different areas in Lebanon, including Nabatieh, Bekaa, Tripoli and Shabaa on December 16, 2018.

The Arabic-language Elnashra online independent newspaper reported that the return of refugees took place under the supervision of Lebanon's General Security Directorate in cooperation with the Lebanese army.

More than one million Syrian refugees are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lebanon.

The Beirut government estimates that the true number of Syrians in Lebanon stands at 1.5 million.

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