BEIRUT, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali called on Saturday for a better cooperation between the two countries to secure a safe return for Syrian refugees to their homeland, local media reported.
"Lebanon and Syria have diplomatic ties and it is in the interest of both countries to increase their cooperation," the ambassador was quoted as saying by Elnashra, an online independent newspaper.
Ali noted that most Syrians wish to return from Lebanon to their homeland where they can live with dignity.
"Syrians can only live with dignity in their homeland," he said, adding that the Astana conference will be promising and he is very optimistic that the coming period may witness the return of refugees to Syria.
The ambassador said that the international community provides small amounts of money to Syrians in Lebanon.
"Hence, it is in the interest of refugees to return home where they can access free education and medication," he said.
More than 1 million Syrian refugees are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Lebanon, while the Lebanese government estimated the true number of Syrians in the country at 1.5 million.
While some Lebanese officials have called on many occasions for a direct dialogue with Syria over the refugees issue, others who are opposed to the Syrian government voiced their opposition to the direct cooperation.