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LEBANON

It is estimated that there are as many as 80,000 Assyrians currently residing in Lebanon, primarily in Beirut and Zahlé. This number includes the descendants of Assyrian genocide survivors who fled Iraq, Turkey, and Iran between 1915-1934. More recently, Lebanon became home to upwards of 20,000 Assyrians who fled IS violence in Iraq and Syria, most of whom are living in Bourj Hammoud, Sad El Bauchrieh, and Sabtieh. The majority of Assyrians from Qamishli and the Khabour Region in Syria have taken refuge in Lebanon. 

Repatriation of Assyrian refugees who wish to return home.

Assyrians from Syria, like all Syrian citizens, fled to escape the war and are unable to return due to the instability and widespread devastation. Most Assyrians from the Khabour Region left after IS invaded the 35 Assyrian villages in the area, taking 253 Assyrian civilians captive. It is estimated that 1,300 families from Khabour are currently in Lebanon. The majority of Iraqi Assyrian refugees originated from the Nineveh Plain and left during the IS occupation of the region. They are now living in protracted situations and exist in a state of limbo. While their lives may not be at risk, their basic rights and essential economic, social, and psychological needs often remain unfulfilled. 

The majority of Syrian Assyrian refugees in Lebanon seek to relocate permanently to more developed and stable countries. Those who wish to return home do not see a future for Assyrians in Syria.

Many Iraqi Assyrian families in Lebanon hope to return home. Common priorities for repatriation include: security, livelihoods, reconstruction of homes and infrastructure, restitution for loss of property, educational opportunities, family reunification, and the creation of a self-governed Nineveh Plain Province for Assyrians, Yazidis, and other minoritized groups in Iraq. 

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS: Support measures to stabilize the security situation in the Nineveh Plain, begin the restoration of devastated areas, and implement other measures to restore public faith in the Iraqi Government to provide incentive for Assyrian refugees who wish to return home. Urge the Iraqi Government to fund the repatriation of Iraqi Assyrian citizens currently living in Lebanon. 

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© 2018 Assyrian Policy Institute