8 EU members say conditions in Syria should be reassessed to allow voluntary refugee returns

A Syrian refugee woman sits inside a car, as she prepares to go back home to Syria as a part of a voluntary return, in the eastern Lebanese border town of Arsal, Tuesday, May 14. [AP]

The governments of eight European Union member states said Friday the situation in Syria should be re-evaluated to allow for the voluntary return of Syrian refugees back to their homeland.

In a joint declaration, officials from Austria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Malta and Poland said they agree on a re-assessment that would lead to "more effective ways of handling" Syrian refugees trying to reach European Union countries.

The eight countries, which held talks during a summit meeting in the Cypriot capital, said the situation in Syria has "considerably evolved," even though complete political stability hasn't been achieved.

Cyprus has in recent months seen an upsurge of Syrian refugees reaching the island nation primarily from Lebanon aboard rickety boats.

Earlier this month, the EU announced a 1 billion euro ($1.06 billion) aid...

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