Feature: Lack of jobs, low payments top reasons for Syrian refugees in Jordan not to return home-Xinhua

Feature: Lack of jobs, low payments top reasons for Syrian refugees in Jordan not to return home

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-02-01 04:39:45

AMMAN, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- Abu Mohammad Salameh, a Syrian refugee currently living in eastern Amman, failed to settle down in his hometown near the Syrian capital Damascus due to the country's battered labor market amid the years of conflict.

"I used to own a grocery store in the countryside near Damascus, which was destroyed during the crisis in Syria, and I've also lost my house," recalled the 58-year-old man, saying "there is nothing for me to go back home."

Salameh came to Jordan as a refugee in 2015 and has gone back to Syria several times ever since. "I tried to find a job in Damascus, but it was hard and prices there were expensive," he said.

"The infrastructures in many areas in the countryside were still inappropriate for living, in addition to other security concerns," he added.

Talking about his son Mohammad, who went back to Syria in October last year and now works in a restaurant, Salameh said "he is unhappy with the little payment that he is getting in Syria, and will soon return to Jordan."

"He used to work with me on a construction site and earned around 20 dinars per day (around 28 U.S. dollars) which is not bad and enough to live," he added.

Hosam Ali, a 21-year-old Syrian refugee living in Amman's Al Naser area, said he does not consider returning to Syria.

"I came to Jordan when I was 11 years old. I do not remember a lot about Syria and there is nothing for me to go back," he said.

"Here I work in a grocery store and earn around 350 dinars, which is good and can help my family," he added.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) last December, approximately 24,400 out of over 5.1 million registered Syrian refugees returned to Syria over the first eight months of 2023.

By the end of 2023, Jordan hosted more than 720,000 refugees of different nationalities registered with the UNHCR. Among them, 649,091 are Syrian refugees, while 302,828 are in the working age.

Jordanian economist Wajdi Makhamreh said that a large portion of Syrian refugees refrained from a return due to the sanctions imposed on Syria, which have led to the lack of infrastructure construction, water and electricity shortages, in addition to security concerns.

"Therefore, a number of them prefer to remain in Jordan despite difficult conditions. This constitutes a huge burden on Jordan in terms of infrastructure, education and health system, especially in light of the decline in aid to Syrian refugees, which has decreased significantly over the past years," he added.

Earlier this month, the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan allocated a total of 974 million U.S. dollars to support Syrian refugees in Jordan in 2024.

However, the funds remain low as the kingdom estimated adequate annual financing for the Syrian refugees in Jordan at around 2 billion dollars.