Syrian refugees in Turkey continue to move back to their hometowns in liberated areas of northwestern Syria. The latest figures show that within the first half of this year a total of 79.886 people returned.
Choosing the Cilvegözü border gate, which is located in southeastern Hatay province's Reyhanlı district, to cross the border, Syrians return to villages near the secured areas as well as rural areas near Afrin and Idlib provinces. The returns have caused intense traffic at the gate from time to time.
The return of Syrian refugees has been made possible recently thanks to Turkey's two operations in the area: Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch. Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016 to clear provinces west of the Euphrates, such as al-Bab and Jarablus, from Daesh and the People's Protection Units (YPG). Operation Olive Branch was launched in 2018 in northwestern Afrin province, again to clear the region of terrorist elements. Both these operations proved successful and achieved their goals of bringing peace to the region. There are currently nearly 3,5 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey. The number of Syrian refugees who have returned to their homeland has exceeded 330.000.