Flash Update: Syrian Refugee & IDP Returns (30 June 2017)
443,000 Syrian Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) returned home so far in 2017.
31,226 Syrian refugees spontaneously returned to Syria so far in 2017.
Potential for increased returns if peace and stability in Syria increases.
UNHCR scaling up monitoring, planning and response to returns inside and outside Syria.
Preserving asylum space and maintaining funding in host countries is crucial, given the ongoing instability in Syria and evident continued need for international protection.
Context & Current Situation
UNHCR is carefully monitoring political and security developments inside Syria, where the Astana and Geneva talks are creating opportunities for peace and stability. IDP returns are expected to increase in 2017. Should these prove to be sustainable, then there could be a significant rise in spontaneous refugee returns to the same areas.
IDPs: There are around 6.3 million IDPs in Syria, displaced over the course of seven years of conflict. Some 443,000 IDPs are reported to have returned to their place of origin this year. In 2017, the Government of Syria expects significant returns of IDPs, in particular once the school year is finished.
Refugees: There are more than 5 million registered Syrian refugees hosted in the region. UNHCR neither promotes nor facilitates refugee returns to Syria, given that conditions do not exist for safe and dignified return.
However, UNHCR does track spontaneous returns through border monitoring, community engagement and continuous registration processes in countries of asylum. UNHCR estimates that 31,226 Syrian refugees have returned from January to May 2017.