BEIRUT, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Around 16,000 Syrians illegally residing in Lebanon returned to their homeland from July 23 to Aug. 23 through the Masnaa Border Crossing, local newspaper Asharq Al Awsat reported Sunday.
Lebanese General Security issued at the beginning of this month a decision to allow Syrian refugees staying in Lebanon illegally to go back to Syria.
According to the newspaper, illegal Syrian residents in Lebanon can pay fines and return home, which would allow them to enter Lebanon in a legal way in the future.
They will be denied access to Lebanon permanently if refusing to pay fines, it added.
The Syrian refugee crisis has become a hot topic in Lebanon lately.
More than 1 million Syrian refugees have registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Lebanon, while the government estimates the true number of Syrians in the country at 1.5 million.
The flow of Syrian refugees to Lebanon weighed heavily on the country's economy.
A Lebanese official said earlier this month that 270,000 Lebanese people have lost their jobs after 384,000 Syrian refugees poured into the country's employment market.
This prompted Russia to draft a strategy that would secure a safe and gradual return for Syrian refugees to their homeland.