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Fourth Regional Survey on Syrian Refugees’ Perceptions and Intentions on Return to Syria (RPIS)

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Since the beginning of 2017, UNHCR operations in host countries neighbouring Syria have been conducting Return Perception and Intention Surveys (RPIS)1 as well as Focus Group Discussions (FGD) with Syrian refugees on their intentions for return in the future. Due to operational context, Turkey did not taken part on the 2017-2018 RPIS exercises and the intentions to return were collected through dedicated focus groups discussions with refugees.

These initiatives aim to examine Syrian refugees’ plans for the future, hear their perspectives about returning to Syria as a possible solution to their plight, and better understand the attainability of comprehensive solutions to displacement from Syria. The information provided through the RPIS is assessed as part of the information related to durable solutions collected by country operations through routine discussions and counselling with refugees at registration centres, reports from border and protection monitoring directly or through partners, and other information collected during the implementation of protection and assistance activities. UNHCR’s first-hand knowledge of refugees’ concerns and intentions, as well as their profiles and protection needs, allows for the triangulation of information, examination of regional variations or similarities, and assessment of the profiles and needs of the individuals surveyed. All of these components are vital to inform any analytical projection of comprehensive solutions to displacement from Syria with a focus on future plans for returns to Syria.

The information available to UNHCR as a result of these surveys, FGDs and protection activities carried out in the field, will continue to inform UNHCR and partners in the development and implementation of a durable solutions strategy that is evidence-based, participatory and places refugees’ needs and aspirations at the centre. It is also crucial to inform advocacy and programming both in Syria and in host countries.

This report presents the main findings of the fourth Return Perception and Intention Survey from a regional perspective.

Findings were complemented by historical data collected during previous rounds of the RPIS enabling, to the extent possible, a comparative analysis of trends over time.