Ankara tells Syria refugees to celebrate Eid Al-Adha in Turkey or take a 'one way ticket' home

Ankara tells Syria refugees to celebrate Eid Al-Adha in Turkey or take a 'one way ticket' home
Turkey's interior minister announced over the weekend a decision that will ban Syrian refugees from visiting their country for Eid al-Adha next month, or a choice to grant them a one way permit
2 min read
13 June, 2022
An estimated 3.7 million Syrians have fled to Turkey since the conflict started in their country in 2011 [Getty]

Turkey has said it would ban Syrian refugees from returning home for the Eid al-Adha holiday next month, and would only grant a one way permit for those wishing to return to Syria for the Muslim holiday.

The announcement was made by Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu. The same measures had been taken during the Eid al-Fitr holiday in April.

"This is currently not acceptable. Those wishing to return to Syria will receive a one-way transit permit," Soylu said at a press conference Saturday in the capital Ankara.

Soyly also announced that some Syrians will not receive the temporary protection card known as Kimlik after arriving in Turkish territory.

He said that if arriving Syrians reside in the capital Damascus they will be returned home immediately.

Damascus has been spared most of the violence in Syria’s 11-year civil war, but refugees returned there would face huge risks from security forces, notorious for killing and torturing Syrians. 

The estimated 3.7 million refugees in Turkey used to be allowed to cross into Syria to visit their families and then return.

Amid a worsening economic situation in Turkey and rising unemployment, Syrians have suffered increasing discrimination, with some being rounded up and arbitrarily deported to war zones in Syria by Turkish authorities.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in early May that Ankara was aiming to encourage one million Syrian refugees to return to their country by building them housing and local infrastructure there. Turkish forces and allied Syrian armed groups control large parts of northern Syria.

The Syrian regime however rejected the plan.

Turkey has for weeks been threatening to attack large parts of northern Syria, vowing to root out what he calls "terrorists" and create a buffer zone along the Syrian-Turkish border.

Kurdish militias control large parts of northern Syria, which Ankara views as terrorist groups.

Ankara backs a number of Islamist and rebel groups in Syria’s Idlib governorate, still outside the control of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.