Thousands who fled recent fighting in Syria return home

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BEIRUT :Most Syrians displaced by recent fighting stranded at the border with Jordan in the country’s south have returned to their homes, a U.N. official and a group that closely monitors the Syrian war said Sunday.

The return to areas now controlled by the government came two days after Syrian troops regained control of the Naseeb border crossing with Jordan, along with a long stretch of the border between the two countries. On Saturday Syrian troops hoisted national flags at the border crossing point three years after losing it to rebels.

Syria’s government offensive to retake the province of Daraa from insurgents, which began on June 19, has displaced some 330,000 people, many of them heading to the border with Jordan that refused to allow refugees to cross. The fighting in the border area stopped on Friday under a Russian-mediated surrender deal.

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Anders Pedersen, the top U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Jordan, told reporters Sunday that just 150 to 200 Syrians remained near a key crossing point into Jordan, adding that as “far as we understand they are almost exclusively men.”

But the situation “remains very difficult and it’s of a huge concern to us,” Pedersen told reporters, repeating calls for a cessation of hostilities to allow humanitarian operations and eventually reaching a political settlement to the Syrian crisis.

Categories: Warzone

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