BEIRUT, April 13 (Xinhua) -- Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali assured on Saturday that Syria is "keen to receive its citizens who flew outside the country due to war," local media reported.
"We are keen to see the return of our citizens. Syria needs its people to work in agriculture, industry, and schools in addition to contributing in rebuilding the country," Ali was quoted as saying by Elnashra, an online independent newspaper.
He said that the economic situation in Syria is still hard and Syrians who flew to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey are not living a good life.
The ambassador added that Syrian authorities have issued exemptions from compulsory military service for returning citizens in addition to offering exemptions for those who committed crimes and wrongdoing.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 5 million people have fled Syria seeking safety in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.
In Lebanon, where more than 1 million Syrian refugees reside, there are no formal refugee camps and approximately 70 percent of Syrian refugees live below the poverty line.