Some Syrian refugees oppose Russian return plan

BEIRUT (AP) — Some Syrian refugees in Jordan say they oppose Russian efforts to bring them back home from regional host countries.

Several Syrians interviewed Thursday say they don’t trust the Syrian government or Russia, which backs President Bashar Assad.

Russia, which helped Assad restore significant swaths of territory from rebels in recent years, is discussing the repatriation of refugees from Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

Russian diplomats are meeting Lebanese and Jordanian officials Thursday to discuss the return. Ayman Safadi, foreign minister of Jordan, said Wednesday that Amman will not force any refugee to go home, insisting the return would be “voluntarily.”

A spokesman for the U.N.’s refugee agency said his organization, while welcoming an end to the Syrian crisis, has up to 21 conditions before encouraging refugees to return.

Jordan hosts 667,000 registered Syrian refugees.