Middle EastSyria

Assad: Syrian Refugees National Issue, Sanctions and Pressure Obstructing Their Return

Syrian President Bashar al Assad on Wednesday blamed US sanctions and pressure on the United Nations and Syria’s neighbors for the reticence of more than 5 million refugees who fled the conflict there to return.

“There are many hurdles,” Assad said, citing US sanctions, in a speech delivered via video at the opening of the Int’l Conference on the Return of Refugees.

The Syrian leader affirmed that the issue of the refugees according to Syria “is a national issue, in addition to being a humanitarian issue.”

“over the past few years, we have succeeded in achieving the return of hundreds of thousands of refugees, and today we are working relentlessly for the return of each refugee who is willing to participate in building his homeland,” Assad was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, he stressed that the overwhelming majority of Syrians abroad today more than ever want to return to their homeland “because they reject to be a number on the political investment lists and a paper in the hand of regimes which support terrorism against their homeland.”

In this context, Assad said millions of refugees were being forced to stay in host countries by “pressure or intimidation” and that host states were enticing them financially while benefiting from international aid for them.

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