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Syria, Lebanon discuss plan to repatriate 15,000 refugees per month

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Syrian and Lebanese officials have discussed ways to facilitate the monthly return of 15,000 Syrian refugees to their home country.

Syrian Minister of Local Administration and Environment Hussein Makhlouf held a meeting in Damascus on Monday with visiting Lebanese Minister of the Displaced Issam Charafeddine, during which they touched upon measures taken by Syria to secure a safe and quick home return for the refugees based on a timeline set by both countries, Xinhua news agency reported citing local media reports.

“Lebanon and Syria agree on the necessity to facilitate the return of all refugees to their homeland, not just 15,000 monthly, as stated in the plan presented by the Lebanese side,” Makhlouf told a joint press conference with the Lebanese Minister.

The Syrian government has pledged to secure basic services including transportation, accommodation, medical care, and education for all the Syrian refugees who want to come back, said Makhlouf.

He said the Syrian army has restored security and stability to large swathes of territories over the past few years, and the government has so far enabled the home return of 4 million internally displaced people and 1 million refugees overseas.

He also called on UN organisations to be “an active partner in the return of the displaced, especially when Syria is open to cooperation with Lebanon and others to facilitate the return of all the displaced, allowing them to have an active role in the reconstruction process”.

On his part, Charafeddine said “we discussed our plan in detail with Syrian authorities who expressed readiness to receive all refugees, pledging to provide them with needed facilities”, according to Lebanon’s National News Agency.

The Lebanese officials intended to visit Syria soon to further coordinate their return with Syrian authorities, he added.

Charafeddine also held a separate meeting with Syrian Interior Minister Mohammad Khaled al-Rahmoun, during which the latter said the Damascus government allows holders of expired passports to return home and the registration of children who were born overseas.

Al-Rahmoun added that immigration centres at Syrian borders were all connected with the central database for civil affairs in order to provide the returnees with needed documents upon arriving in the country.

Earlier this month, Charafeddine had said that Lebanon would implement its plan regardless of the UN position as his country suffers from an unprecedented financial crisis and the influx of refugees has weighed heavily on the economy and infrastructure.

Lebanon remains the country hosting the largest number of refugees per capita in the world, with an estimated 1.5 million Syrians and some 13,715 of other nationalities.

The UNHCR representative in Lebanon has rejected the country’s plan, citing Syria is not safe for returning refugees.

International News

West uses human rights as ‘tool’ to pressure others: Iran

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Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani has criticized Western countries for what he called their use of human rights as a “tool” to exert pressure on other countries.

“When human rights are turned into a plaything and a tool to apply political pressure on others, the media empire of the hegemonic system also helps to replace the accused with the plaintiff in the case of systematic human rights violations,” Kanaani wrote in an Instagram post on Thursday.

The spokesman’s comments followed Western media’s reports about recent protests in Iran, which were triggered by the death of 22-year-old Iranian girl Mahsa Amini, who died while in the custody of Iran’s morality police.

Following the recent protests in the country, the Canadian government has slapped sanctions on Iranian institutions and individuals for alleged “rights violations,” Xinhua news agency reported.

Kanaani referred to the reports of the separation of thousands of indigenous children from their families in the past decades in Canada and the discovery of children’s mass graves in Canada’s residential schools, saying that the people of the world have not forgotten “the sad saga”.

“Blurting out words about other countries and hiding behind accusations against others will not change the fact that behind the window of human rights in one of the American government’s closest allies, child-killing and disregard for humanity is showing off,” he added.

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International News

At the request of Qatar, Turkey will send army for World Cup security

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Turkey’s parliament has approved a proposal to send troops to Qatar to provide security support during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. “At Qatar’s request, a proposal was tabled in parliament on Saturday to deploy troops for six months to provide security during the football tournament in November,” parliament said in a statement on Wednesday.

The objective of the operation is to take necessary measures against various threats, especially terrorism, which may affect security. According to Turkish media reports, apart from Turkey, USA, France, UK, Italy and Pakistan will also provide security support during the World Cup in Qatar.

Qatar is facing a shortage of security personnel for the month-long FIFA soccer tournament, Xinhua News Agency reported.

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Business

Rupee slips down against dollar on oil price increase

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Rising international oil prices saw the Indian rupee depreciating to Rs 81.94 against the US dollar.

The rupee opened at Rs 81.52 on Thursday at the interbank forex market and then went down to Rs 81.94.

Experts said demand for dollars from oil importers resulted in a fall in rupee.

The oil prices are expected to climb up as the producing nations have announced their plans to cut production.

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