Earlier this week, during a gathering held to commemorate World Refugee Day, Mazen al-Faraya, the Jordanian Interior Minister, addressed the attendees, stating, “Jordan will never be your homeland; your homeland is the country you left behind,” effectively conveying to refugees, particularly Syrian refugees, that Jordan will not be their permanent residence.
According to data provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are approximately 1.3 million Syrians currently residing in Jordan, with 761,580 individuals registered with the UNHCR and possessing official refugee status. It is important to note that not all Syrians in Jordan fled their country due to the war, as around 530,000 individuals were already residing there prior to 2011, either for business, marriage, or due to birth.
UN statistics reveal that nearly 80% of Syrians in Jordan live below the poverty line, with 60% experiencing extreme poverty. Despite these challenging circumstances, a survey conducted by the UNHCR indicates that 97% of Syrians in Jordan have no plans to return to Syria within the next year. Less than 1% expressed their willingness to return, while 2.4% remained undecided.
Husam Ayesh, an economist, stated to the Jordan Times that the majority of Syrians do not wish to return to Syria due to concerns over security, stability, and the lack of opportunities. Ayesh explained, “The infrastructure in Syria is not equipped to support the returnees, and there are potential social risks that the refugees might be apprehensive about.” The reasons cited by Syrians for not returning include inadequate security, limited economic prospects, housing shortages, and a lack of basic services.