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Lebanon: Syrian refugees hesitant to return despite opening

A committee of Syrian refugees in Lebanon's eastern border region says tens of thousands of the group will remain where they are despite an arrangement offered to them to return to Syria.

Khaled Raad, a member of the refugees' Coordination Committee with the Lebanese government, says the vast majority of the refugees in Lebanon's Arsal border region will not accept to return to Syria, for fear of war, hardship, and oppressive jihadist rule. He spoke to the AP on Tuesday.

Lebanon and Syria are waiting for the final arrangements to be completed with al-Qaida-linked militants to bus 9,000 fighters, their family members, and other refugees from the Arsal area to Syria's northwest, al-Qaida-dominated Idlib province.

The U.N.'s refugee agency in Lebanon estimates 51,000 Syrian refugees are in the Arsal region.