Many Syrian refugees in Turkey have started to return to their hometowns in northern Syria to celebrate the upcoming Qurban Bayram (also known as Eid al-Adha) with their families. Thousands of refugees, particularly from northern Syria, came to the Öncüpınar Border Gate in southern Turkey's Kilis in order to travel to regions that were rendered safe from the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG) and Daesh by the Turkish military.
Turkey and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) launched Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016 to drive out Daesh terrorists from the region. It was followed by Operation Olive Branch in 2018 against the YPG presence in Afrin. Thanks to these operations, areas like al-Bab, Afrin and Azaz were liberated from YPG and Daesh, making it possible for Syrians, who had fled the violence, to return home.
In February, the Interior Ministry said more than 300,000 Syrian refugees were able to return to their hometowns that were liberated from terrorist elements in Turkish military operations. When the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011 as the Bashar Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity, Syrians quickly found themselves trapped between a raging civil war and terrorist groups like Daesh and the U.S.-backed YPG.
Most of the refugees sought refuge in Turkey, which has welcomed them since the outbreak of the war. According to the U.N., Turkey is the country that hosts the highest number of refugees in the world giving them shelter, a right to reside and work in Turkey and much more, including rights to health and education.
Despite hot weather reaching 40 degrees Celsius in Kilis, more than 5,000 Syrians wanting to visit their country and families for the holiday in the safe zones arrived at the gate.
An online appointment with the Governorate of Kilis is required to register for return. The police closely observe this process to prevent any possible complications.
Furthermore, the Immigration Authority set up camps where the Syrians could wait during the process and medical teams checked the immunization certificates for children under 15, while those who had no vaccination were vaccinated.
All kinds of precautions and assistance are being provided for the safe return of the refugees to their countries.