Around 530,000 Syrians have so far returned to their country from Türkiye, deputy Interior Minister Ismail Çataklı said on Wednesday, underlining that the efforts of Ankara were vital to curb migration and ameliorate the living conditions in the war-torn country’s north.
Speaking during a conference on migration and human rights in Istanbul, Çataklı reminded that Syria’s pre-election population was 22 million while eight million live in regime-controlled areas and 14 million live far from their homes.
"Currently, four million people live in Idlib. Only 1,200,000 of them are Idlib's own population. If Türkiye did not carry out its operations, more Syrians would have come to Türkiye today than the number of Syrians currently in the country,” Çataklı said.
Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield in 2016, Olive Branch in 2018, and Peace Spring in 2019.
Saying that Türkiye’s efforts were not limited to military operations, Çataklı added: “We continue our humanitarian aid activities intensively.”
“We have now completed the planning of 103,000 briquette houses. We have completed more than 74,000 of them, and we have placed families in 66,300 of them. In other words, we took them from tents and placed them in briquette houses.”
He underlined that thanks to Türkiye’s efforts, six million people now have homes, while 353,000 students are able to continue their education.
When the Syrian civil war began, Türkiye opened its doors to those who had to flee the country to save their lives and now hosts more refugees than any other country in the world. Ankara also spearheads humanitarian aid efforts for Syrians in opposition-controlled parts of northern Syria and in Türkiye while making large investments for Syrians in Türkiye in social cohesion policies to help them integrate into society smoothly.
Since launching several operations in northern Syria to fight terrorism, Türkiye also rolled up its sleeves to reconstruct hospitals, schools, mosques and roads destroyed by the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization, the YPG.
Within the scope of improving the region's social infrastructure, people were provided food and clothing by several nongovernmental organizations while roads and buildings were rebuilt. These efforts paid off as hundreds of displaced Syrians started to return to the liberated areas.