600,000 Syrian refugees return home from Turkey as part of repatriation plan

600,000 Syrian refugees return home from Turkey as part of repatriation plan
Turkey's president has vowed on numerous occasions to send back around 1 million Syrian refugees to their country.
2 min read
03 August, 2023
Turkey has already deported many Syrian refugees back to Syria [Getty]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly announced earlier this week that around 600,000 Syrian refugees have return to northwest Syria from Turkey.

Erdogan – re-elected in May – had previously revealed his government’s plans to ensure the "voluntary" return of around one million Syrian refugees to their country, explaining that the return process would take time.

The return of refugees would continue as the situation in Syria continues to stabilise, he claimed.

There are over 3.7 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, most of whom have been given "temporary protection" rather than refugee status. This restricts their movements in Turkey and allows authorities to deport them to Syria at any time.

Turkey has built several thousand housing units in parts of northwest Syria to house returning refugees.

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Ankara has been heavily involved in Syria’s 12-year conflict, maintaining a military presence across large stretches of northern Syria and backing rebel groups.

It is believed that over half a million people have died in the war in Syria, with millions more displaced.

In a recent count, a refugee association in Turkey said the number of Syrians with the protection card known as kimlik was 3.33 million in August, down from 3.76 million the same time last year.

Late last month, Turkish authorities gave unregistered Syrians living in Istanbul about two months to leave the city and return to provinces where they had originally registered.

Turkey’s largest city hosts more Syrian refugees than any other city in the country, with over 500,000 living there.