As the Islamic holiday of Ramadan Bayram (Eid al-Fitr), which marks the end of a month of fasting and an occasion for family reunions, approaches, some 1,500 Syrians have crossed into the country over the last three days.
Wanting to spend the holiday in their homeland, Syrian refugees flocked to the Öncüpınar border crossing in the southern city of Kilis to travel home. The majority of the refugees were traveling to towns and cities liberated by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) backed by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).
While Turkey has reopened the Öncüpınar border crossing with Syria to allow refugees from the conflict-ridden country to return home, 1,500 people among the 22,000 registered for return have crossed the border into Syria over the past three days.
Almost all are heading to areas liberated from terrorists through two operations by Syrian forces backed by the Turkish army, including the towns and cities of Azez, Mare, Soran, Aktarin, Afrin, Jarablus and al-Bab.
Elderly and disabled Syrians were given priority as police officers helped them walk to the Syrian side where they boarded buses. The crossings are strictly monitored, while a mobile clinic has been set up at Öncüpınar for vaccinating children accompanying their families to the Syrian side.
Mustafa Hachasan, a Syrian refugee, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that he had to flee Syria five years ago, leaving his family behind.
Saying he now has the opportunity to see his family after five years, thanks to Turkey's initiatives. Hachasan praised Turkey's efforts for Syrian refugees.
Abdurrahman Cuma Salih, another Syrian refugee, also stated that he is very happy because he will see his family again after almost three years.
Many returnees had been living in areas controlled by Daesh or the People's Protection Units (YPG), an affiliate of the terrorist group PKK, in Syria's northern regions bordering Turkey.
Last year, 15,000 people out of 74,000 registered for return and crossed the border into Syria to spend the holiday in their homeland.
Turkey cleared an area of 4,000 square kilometers from the two terrorist groups in operations in 2016, and this year by helping the FSA weed out terrorists from al-Bab, Jarablus and other towns in Operation Euphrates Shield and in Afrin with Operation Olive Branch.
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