Nearly 95,0001 individuals arrived to the IDP sites almost three months ago, including nearly 31,0002 currently residing in eight IDP sites in Rural Damascus and nearly 64,0003 who have left the shelters, through the ‘sponsorship’4 programme as well as to return to their areas of origin5 , including 12,8666 individuals that as of 27 May have returned to their habitual residence in Eastern Ghouta. The majority of the IDPs that are leaving the sites are residing in Herjellah, Dweir and Electricity complex, and returning to Saqba, Hamouriyeh and Douma.
UNHCR is advocating for the principle of family unity to be respected when IDPs return to their areas of origin and in all the IDP sites. UNHCR multifunctional teams conducted several missions to the IDP sites, namely Dweir, Fayhaa Al Sham, Najha, and Al Nashabiyeh from 21 to 28 May. The missions revealed an increasing trend of return to the collective shelters of IDPs who had earlier left the shelters; owing to having exhausted their coping mechanisms outside the sites, including their own and host families’ resources. Another reason for IDPs returning to the sites is to be able to register, receive security clearance and leave the sites to their areas of origin.