Syrian refugees arrive to board buses as they leave to Syria from the southern village of Shebaa, Wednesday, April 18, 2018. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
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Since representatives of over 70 countries, international organizations and Syrian civil society gathered in Brussels in April 2017 to coordinate the humanitarian response to Syria, the political narrative around the refugee crisis has grown increasingly somber.Hezbollah goes even further, saying that refugees are free to choose to resettle in any area of Syria.In Lebanon, the report – launched in February 2018 by a group of six major INGOs including the NRC – found that 71 percent of Syrian refugees still live in poverty while 74 percent are made vulnerable by the lack of a valid residency visa, compared to 20 percent in Jordan.A recent spat between the U.N. refugee agency and the Lebanese Foreign Ministry over refugee returns also saw the ministry publish a bitter statement following the reportedly voluntary return of 500 refugees from the Shebaa area in Lebanon.Among Syria's neighboring countries, however, Lebanon's policy on returns has not been as acute. Both Turkey and Jordan deported refugees to Syria during 2017 .Turkey, albeit offering to integrate 300,000 refugees in 2016 with full citizenship, requested Syrian refugees to sign a voluntary return paper and to surrender Temporary Protection IDs or preregistration documents, precluding readmission into the country.
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