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Syrian refugee return process gaining momentum — Russian envoy

Russian Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev said more than 27,000 Syrian refugees returned from Lebanon and up to 25,000 from Jordan

ASTANA, November 28. /TASS/. The Syrian refugee return process is gaining momentum, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev said on Wednesday.

"The process is gaining momentum. Only three months ago, many were skeptical about Russia’s initiative concerning the return of refugees, but now even officials from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) agree that the process has increased its pace and the trend is very positive," Lavrentyev said.

According to the official, more than 27,000 Syrian refugees have already returned from Lebanon, while another 24,000 to 25,000 have come back from Jordan.

The Russian envoy said that it meant the Syrian government had succeeded in creating conditions for the return of refugees. At the same time, a significant number of refugees still remained abroad, including about 3.5 mln people in Turkey, 2.5 mln in Jordan and 1.5 mln in Lebanon, he added.

Besides, Lavrentyev said that Russia continued efforts to organize an international conference on Syrian refugees. "It is too early to speak about that," he noted. "Nevertheless, we have been closely cooperating with various international organizations, including the UNHCR, who pledged to fully support us in the matter."