Around 11,000 Syrian refugees have crossed into Syria so far as the Islamic holiday of Ramadan Bayram (also known as Eid al-Fitr), which marks the end of a month of fasting and an occasion for family reunions, approaches. 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).
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.
Nearly 39,000 Syrians returned to Syria last year for the Ramadan holiday, while a total of 76,000 Syrians applied online to the Turkish authorities to spend Eid in Syria.
Turkey cleared an area of 4,000 square kilometers from the two terrorist groups in operations in 2016 and in the following years 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. Crossings are strictly monitored, while a mobile clinic has been set up at Öncüpınar for vaccinating children between the ages of 0-15 accompanying their families to the Syrian side. It is reported that the crossings will continue until May 31.
Following the operations, Turkey continued its activities in the provinces by putting emphasis on reconstruction, infrastructure and the formation of local administrations. The end result has been rewarding for Turkey as Syrian refugees who were displaced from the region started to return to their liberated hometowns and restart their lives.
Thanks to the operations, more than 311,000 Syrian refugees have returned to their hometowns that were liberated from terrorist elements, the Interior Ministry said in February.