Syrian refugees queue to receive aid and food supplies, at the Bardarash refugee camp, South of Duhok, Kurdistan region, Iraq, 21 October 2019 | Photo: EPA/Gailan Haji
Syrian refugees queue to receive aid and food supplies, at the Bardarash refugee camp, South of Duhok, Kurdistan region, Iraq, 21 October 2019 | Photo: EPA/Gailan Haji

The Turkish government says 370,000 Syrian refugees have returned to their home country from Turkish territory since 2016. They are now allegedly living in areas under Turkish control thanks to cross-border military operations that began in 2016.

According to the Turkish government, some 370,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey have returned to their home country and now live in areas currently under Turkish government control after cross-border military operations began in 2016.

The announcement, an update of previously released figures, was made on Wednesday by Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay. In recent days, dozens of refugees have entered the area east of the Euphrates River for the first time after Turkish-backed Syrian armed groups took land from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey

"We are putting all services, especially in areas of security, health, education and shelter, road, water and electricity, for the use of Syrians without any discrimination," Oktay said during a press conference in Gaziantep, a city in southeastern Turkey.

Turkey currently hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees - more than any other country. Syrians who are registered in Turkey are given temporary protection.

Erdogan proposes donor conference

Turkey will propose the holding of an international donors conference for Syrian refugees, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. He noted that the conference would aim to raise funds to build new settlements in the areas under Turkish control in northern Syria, where at least 1 million of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees currently in Turkey would be transferred.

Ankara estimates that $27 billion must be raised to implement the project. Erdogan noted to reporters on his return from Doha that he had raised the issue with US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Qatari Emir Tamim al-Thani.

The Turkish leader added that he would be dealing with the issue also on the sidelines of a NATO conference next week in London, where he is expected to meet with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
 

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