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Moscow – The Russian military says nearly 270,000 Syrian refugees have returned home to their country in recent months.

Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev of the Russian Defense Ministry told reporters on Friday that nearly 6,000 people returned to Syria in the last week alone, according to data collected by Russia. He says they are seeing large flows of refugees returning home.

Moscow and the government in Damascus have been encouraging refugees to repatriate, arguing that the violence has subsided. Russia launched military operations to help Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2015, changing the tide of the war in his favor.

Western governments have, however, argued that it’s too early to encourage return, fearing that refugees would be facing persecution upon return to the government-controlled areas in absence of a comprehensive political agreement.

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