Turkey prohibits refugees from visiting Syria during Eid al-Fitr

Turkey prohibits refugees from visiting Syria during Eid al-Fitr
The Turkish interior ministry announced on Tuesday a decision to prohibit Syrian refugees from visiting their country for the Islamic Eid celebrations in early May
2 min read
20 April, 2022
Syrians who went home to spend Ramadan are worried they may not be allowed back into Turkey [Getty- archive]

Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on Tuesday said the Turkish government would prohibit  Syrian refugees from visiting their country during the Muslim Eid festival, according to Anadolu news agency.

Soylu made the unusual announcement to reporters, saying Syrians residing in Turkey would not be allowed to visit safe areas in northern Syria under the control of Turkish-backed Syrian rebel groups for the festival.

Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, begins in early May and lasts for three days.

Following Soylu’s remarks, a number of Syrian refugees in Turkey who were planning on going home for the occasion received text messages informing them that their permits to visit Syria were cancelled.

Live Story

The decision has raised concerns for dozens of Syrian refugees who crossed the border in recent days, while dozens of others have held back from going to Syria in fear of not being allowed back into Turkey.

Is it still not clear why the decision was taken, but Syrians living in Turkey have witnessed growing hostility and discrimination in recent months amid a worsening economic situation in Turkey and rising unemployment. 

In previous years, Syrians were allowed to visit their home country during religious occasions such as Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

An estimated 3.7 million Syrian refugees have fled to Turkey since the Syrian conflict began in 2011.

Some Syrians have previously been rounded up and arbitrarily deported to war zones in Syria by Turkish authorities.