São Paulo - Over 600,000 displaced Syrian citizens returned to their homes in the first seven months of this year, the United Nations' International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported. From January to July, 806,661 people left their homes - far more than the number of those who returned.
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.
The next highest number of people (16 percent) returned from Turkey, followed by Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. Others have gone mainly to Idleb, Hama, Raqqa, and Rural Damascus Governorates.
Organization noted that the main reasons for the return are the desire of people to protect their property and hope for an improvement in the situation in Syria.
Most of the returnees return to Aleppo, following a similar trend from past year.
According to reports, nearly all (97 per cent) returned to their own house, 1.8 per cent are living with hosts, 1.4 per cent in abandoned houses, 0.14 per cent in informal settlements and 0.03 per cent in rented accommodation. But only 41 per cent have access to water and 39 per cent to health services - a dangerously low level - as the country's infrastructure has been extremely damaged by the conflict. They also said they were returning because safety conditions had improved (11%), because the economy had worsened in the place they had moved to (14%), and due to social, cultural or political issues (11%).
The Syrian war, which has entered its seventh year, has left hundreds of thousands of dead and displaced almost half of the population of 22 million.
However, it's worth noting that the rate of new displacements during the beginning of this year was significantly higher than the number of returns.
IDP returns have mainly been spontaneous but not necessarily voluntary, safe or sustainable. "As such, they can not, at present, be considered within the context of a durable solutions framework", the UN-based organization wrote.