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Factsheet February 6, 2019

Questions and Answers: The Mobility of Displaced Syrians: An Economic and Social Analysis

The Mobility of Displaced Syrians: An Economic and Social Analysis identifies key factors weighing on Syrian refugees contemplating a return home and analyzes how changing conditions in Syria might affect their decisions. The report analyzes the voluntary return of 103,090 Syrian refugees to determine the key factors that influenced their decisions. 

1. What is the objective of this report? 

This report aims to shed light on the “mobility calculus” of Syrian refugees. While dismissing any policies that imply wrongful practices involving forced repatriation, the study analyzes factors that may be considered by refugees in their own decision to relocate. By doing so, it aims to provide a conceptual framework, supported by data and analysis, to facilitate an impartial conversation about refugees and their mobility choices.

2. Does the report advocate for/against refugee returns?

This report completely adheres to international rules and norms governing issues related to refugees as practiced by UNHCR, and it strictly repudiates any policies that may involve wrongful practices like forced repatriation. The report does not advocate for any position. It is an objective analysis of the factors that influence the decision of Syrian refugees to either return to Syria or remain in their country of refuge.

3. This report does not analyze the conditions faced by Syrians in Turkey and Europe. Why?

The analysis in this report was made possible by UNHCR data systems, including the refugee registration system. Syrian refugees in Turkey and Europe are not fully included in these systems, which made the inclusion of them in this report not possible. The report acknowledges the importance of studying these groups in more detail.

4. This report does not analyze the return of Internally Displaced People (IDPs). Why?

The analysis of refugees in this report was made possible by UNHCR data systems, including the refugee registration system. The World Bank team did not have access to micro-data about socio-demographic characteristics about IDPs in Syria, which made the inclusion of them in this report not possible. The report acknowledges the importance of studying these groups in more detail.

5. Does this report reflect the views of Syrian refugees?

This report focuses primarily on actual return events or absence thereof. The views of Syrian refugees are captured in three different channels in this report. First, the report frequently uses vulnerability and perception surveys organized by partner organizations including UNHCR, WFP, and other agencies. Second, the report conducted new surveys with Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan. Third, the return/stay decisions that are captured in the UNHCR registration systems reflect “revealed” preferences of refugees.  

6. What policy recommendations do emerge from this report?

This report does not aim to design policies. It focuses on informing such policies by providing the necessary data, analysis, and framework that demonstrate the tradeoffs between various policy choices.