UN urges Syria govt to grant it full access to returnees | 2019-03-11 | daily-sun.com

UN urges Syria govt to grant it full access to returnees

10th March, 2019 10:00:03 printer

BEIRUT: The UN’s refugee agency said Saturday it has urged Syria’s government to allow it access to all parts of the war-torn country where externally displaced people have returned, reports AFP.

“It is very important that in areas of return, organisations like mine... are present,” said Filippo Grandi, who heads the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR.

“This is the very strong message that I have passed to the Syrian government,” he told reporters in neighbouring Lebanon’s capital Beirut, after earlier this week undertaking a three-day visit to Syria.

Organisations should be present so they “can observe the returns... have access to the returnees and help them address some of the problems that they face,” he said.

With the war in Syria winding down, neighbouring Lebanon has been eager to encourage some of the 1.5 million Syrians it says it hosts to return.

Grandi visited the central provinces of Homs and Hama this week, he said, but access to the Damascus countryside is more difficult.