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Sat, 14 Dec 2019 18:05 GMT

Over Half of Jordan's Syrian Refugees Do Not Expect to Go Home


Mohammad Ghazal

Wed, 19 Dec 2018 07:02 GMT

More than half of the Syrian refugees in Jordan believe they will not return to Syria and prefer to stay outside of their country, according to a poll conducted in Jordan.

The poll, which surveyed Syrian refugees and Jordanians, indicated that 33% of Syrians said they were certain that they will not return to Syria, while 24% of the refugees said that they will most likely not return.

Of those who expressed willingness to return, 66% said they will only return when stability and security are restored in Syria.

Only 14% of the Syrian refugees said they were determined to return to Syria, according to this week's poll by NAMA for Strategic Intelligence Solutions and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

Around 56% of Syrian refugees said Jordan was their most preferred country to live in and it was followed by Canada, with 19% of the refugees choosing this country as their favourite destination to live in.

Around 48.5% of the Syrian refugees said their main source of income is the UN agencies, while 27% said they work legally, with 16% admitting they work illegally.

According to the study, 85% of Jordanians answered yes on whether Syrian refugees should return to Syria, while 34% of Syrians answered no.

The poll showed that Jordanians believe the influx of Syrian refugees has resulted in a direct and indirect negative impact on them and the country's economy.

Lack of trust

Several Syrian refugees in Jordan said the lack of trust in the Syrian regime is the key factor behind their lack of willingness to return.

"I will only return if there are guarantees that there will be no retaliation against us," Waseem Hammad, a Syrian refugee from Dael in the north of Daraa, told 7Dnews.

Hammad, who lives with his wife and three children in Hai Al Istiklal in the Jordanian capital in Amman, said he fled the violence in his country and entered Jordan in 2013, but even with the Syrian regime in control the situation is not yet convenient for returning.

"I do not hope to stay out of Syria for my entire life. I want my children to grow up in their country and know my extended family, relatives and tribe...I want them to return to where I spent my childhood, but it is too risky to go back now," Hammad said.

Ahmad Azouz, another Syrian refugee who hails from Nawa village in Daraa in the southwestern parts of Syria, said he does not want to return.

"The Syrian regime and the Russians are very active on media outlets asking refugees to return and making the situation seem rosy, but I neither trust the Russians nor the Syrian regime. Some of my relatives were arrested and killed. I cannot risk my life and that of my family and go back," Azouz, a father of four, told 7Dnews.

Economic reasons

Azouz, who works as a plumber in Amman, said the lack of jobs and decent income is another factor that will prevent many Syrians from returning.

"In Jordan, I get aid from the UN and I make some money that is enough for me to put bread on the table. What will I do if I go back to Daraa now? Houses are destroyed and there are no services and the UN is still sending aid to hundreds of thousands in Daraa and nearby areas. I do not expect to return soon and many refugees are afraid to return although the borders between Jordan and Syria are officially open now," said Azouz.

Em Tareq agreed.

The woman, in her late 50s who lives with her grandson and daughter in Amman, said: "We rely on assistance from neighbours and charities. Our neighbours here in Amman bring us food and share with us their meals. I am raising a five year old grandson after his father was killed in Syria and my daughter got married recently and I am raising the child on my own sometimes."

"I want my grandson to meet his father's family in Syria. But we are afraid to return and I do not know what to do," she said.

According to the UNHCR, only some 4,000 Syrian refugees have returned since the border reopened between Jordan and Syria in mid-October.

In Jordan, which is home to 1.3 million Syrian refugees, officials believe that the refugees will not return anytime soon and say they only encourage the voluntary return of refugees in spite of the pressure on the country's economy and infrastructure.

Middle East