Istanbul might be home to close to a million Syrians | COPYRIGHT: REUTERS/Osman Orsa
Istanbul might be home to close to a million Syrians | COPYRIGHT: REUTERS/Osman Orsa

Turkish authorities say they have intercepted about 15,000 migrants without valid documents in Istanbul in the past 20 days, among them 2,630 Syrian nationals.

The office of the Istanbul governor said that the Syrians migrants had been sent to detainment camps outside the city for the time being while their cases were being examined. Nationals of other countries were reportedly sent to deportation centers.

In recent weeks, Turkish authorities have been clamping down on migrants without papers, especially in the country's largest city, Istanbul, which has a population of about 16 million people.

Resentment against refugees has been increasing amid an ongoing economic crisis in the country, which Turks blame on Syrian refugees allegedly taking jobs away from them and crowding out health and education services. Last month, there were reports of clashes between Syrians and Turks in Istanbul as well as protests against migrants.

Syrian refugees are currently given temporary protection in Turkey, which requires that they stay in the province where they registered. Authorities have tightened security measures to send back those who are illegally staying somewhere else. Turkey's Interior Ministry says there are 547,000 Syrians registered in Istanbul but the city's new mayor says the total Syrian population of the city may be nearly double that, with many of them assumed to be registered elsewhere in Turkey.

Ultimatum to leave Istanbul

Last week, Istanbul's governor gave unregistered Syrian refugees an ultimatum to leave the city by August 20 to leave or be sent back to the Turkish city where they were first registered.

There were reports of Syrians being deported back into Syria as well, which has caused concern among the Syrian community. Turkish authorities, however, reject those claims.


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