Russia, Lebanon negotiate plans for Syrian refugees’ return home – Beirut

Russia is talking to Lebanon about Moscow’s plans for the mass return home of Syrian refugees, the Lebanese prime minister’s office said on Tuesday. Lebanon hopes the Kremlin’s initiative will tackle what Beirut calls a “displacement crisis.” The UN refugee agency UNHCR says there are about a million Syrians in Lebanon, around a quarter of its population, while the Lebanese government puts the number at 1.5 million. Russia last week said it had set up the Center for the Reception, Allocation and Accommodation of Refugees to help hundreds of thousands of refugees return home from abroad. Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri discussed Russia’s plans with officials from the Russian embassy to Beirut on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Later this week, Russia’s special representatives will visit to continue talks, Hariri’s office said.