Lebanon minister: Syrian abuses slow return of refugees

Lebanese Minister of State for Refugee Affairs, Mouin Merhebi, speaks during an interview with the Associated Press, at his office, in Beirut, Lebanon...

Lebanese Minister of State for Refugee Affairs, Mouin Merhebi, speaks during an interview with the Associated Press, at his office, in Beirut, Lebanon...

BEIRUT (AP) — A Lebanese Cabinet minister says some Syrian refugees who have returned home from Lebanon have been killed, detained or forced to join the military, leading to a slowdown in the return of Syrians residing in Lebanon.

Minister of State for Refugee Affairs Mouin Merhebi told The Associated Press Tuesday that so far about 12,000 Syrian refugees have returned home since June.

That is a small fraction of the hundreds of thousands who fled to Lebanon to escape the civil war, which began in 2011.

Merhebi said that at the height of the war the number of registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon reached 1.2 million, adding that the number now is about 940,000, after some returned to Syria or were resettled in other countries.