Middle East

Lebanon backs returning Syrian refugees to 'safe zones'

Lebanon's president says the international community should facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to Syria by setting up "safe zones" in coordination with their government.

Michel Aoun made his comments Friday during a meeting with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

Lebanon is home to some 1.2 million Syrian refugees, equivalent to one fourth of its own population.

Aoun said in comments released by his office that Lebanon will not force any refugees to return to Syria amid insecure and unstable conditions. He expressed support for a political solution in Syria and combatting "terrorists".

Syria had expressed concern over such safe zones which U.S. President Donald Trump had previously expressed interest in creating, saying they would have to be set up in coordination with the Syrian government.