Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks with Moen Merabi before addressing lawmakers at the beginning of a two-day parliamentary session, Thursday, April 6, 2017. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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The question of returning Syrian refugees living in Lebanon to their home country was again in the spotlight Monday with ministers and parties articulating conflicting messages after an attack on an army unit last week.Speaking with local media early in the day, Minister of State for Refugee Affairs Mouin Merehbi insisted that Syrian refugees should be repatriated only in coordination with the United Nations.However, a coalition of pro-Syrian groups that includes Hezbollah released a statement calling for the Lebanese government to coordinate with the Syrian regime on refugee and security matters.There are 1.01 million Syrian refugees registered with the UNHCR in Lebanon but authorities put the actual number at around 1.5 million.The same day, FPM MP Walid Khoury called for the return of Syrian refugees to their country to minimize security incidents in Lebanon.That deal was part of a broader Hezbollah effort to mediate with the Syrian government and rebel factions the return of refugees to areas it would guarantee as "safe zones".
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