More than 600 thousand Syrian refugees returned home in 2017,

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More than 600 thousand Syrian refugees returned home in 2017,

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is warning people against returning prematurely to war-torn Syria as the number of displaced going back to their homes reaches a record high. Syria is not safe, she added, and the places to which people return are not equipped to provide essential services.

The report says that 84 per cent of those who returned home were IDPs inside Syria and the remaining 16 percent returned from Turkey, followed by Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

Well over half, approximately 67 percent, of the returning refugees have been to the Aleppo Governorate, where an estimated 405,420 individuals have been registered by the IOM as having returned.

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According to the IOM, 27% of respondents said they were returning to protect their property and 25% claimed the economy improved in their area.

Other factors people gave IOM and partners as their reasons for returning included the worsening economic situation in the place where they were seeking refuge (14 percent).

Most of the returnees return to Aleppo, following a similar trend from a year ago. Backed with Russian support in a successful offensive to retake the city, the city was returned to Syrian Government control in December 2016 after having previously been under control of the armed opposition.

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The report indicates that an increasing number of Syrians displaced within the country appear to be returning home. The other 3% are living with hosts, in abandoned houses, in informal settlements or rented accommodation. "As you noted, in the number of people who were displaced this year, which is over 800,000, some people are being displaced for the second or third time". From January to July 2017, an estimated 808,661 people were displaced, many for the second or third time, and over 6 million in total now remain displaced within the country. "As such, they can not, at present, be considered within the context of a durable solutions framework", the UN-based organization wrote.

About 83 per cent and 80 per cent of returnees said they have access to food and household items, respectively.

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