The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Jordan announced in a press conference with Jordanian media Sunday that 5,500 Syrian refugees had left Jordan and returned to Syria in 2021, a small fraction of the total number of Syrian refugees living in Jordan. The UNHCR stated that while many more wished to return to Syria in 2021, they were unable to do so because of continued violence and instability due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Jordan hosts the second-greatest number of Syrian refugees worldwide, with the UNHCR stating that 672,952 Syrian refugees lived in Jordan as of December 31, 2021. Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Egypt comprise the remainder of the 5.7 million Syrian refugees who have fled the civil war, with Turkey housing the majority.
The UNHCR Representative for Jordan, Dominik Bartsch, provided further detail to Jordanian television, stating that the Syrian political landscape was too unstable for many to consider returning, and that the threat of compulsory military service was a disincentive for many young people to return.
Mr. Bartsch also addressed recent coverage of Middle Eastern refugees becoming stranded in Belarus, saying that the UNHCR was conducting awareness campaigns to Syrian refugees advising them of the potential dangers of travel to Europe without official UN resettlement.
Millions of Syrian refugees have been fleeing Syria since the outbreak of the civil war in 2010, creating the world’s largest refugee crisis in decades. Many refugees live in extreme poverty, supported only through international assistance and benefits from their host countries.