Fear among Syrian refugees over Turkey ‘voluntary return’ plan

by | Jul 20, 2022 | World

Istanbul, Turkey – Syrians living in Turkey have expressed fear and concern about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s proposal to repatriate about one million of them to the northern region of Idlib, as the Turkish government continues to insist that it will carry out a military operation in northern Syria.In May, Erdogan announced that the government was working to return Syrian refugees to the areas under Turkish security control in northern Syria. The plan includes building 250,000 housing units and equipping them with infrastructure that will extend between the cities of Azaz, Jarablus and al-Bab, all the way to Tal Abyad and Ain Issa.
“We support the ongoing migration strategy with projects to encourage voluntary returns,” Erdogan said at the time.
“Not only have we opened our doors to enable the oppressed to save their lives and dignity, but we also make every effort so that they can return to their homes,” he added.
However, many Syrians are wary of returning to their country, saying that the northern region is still a heavily militarised war zone and that they would be uprooting the lives they had built for themselves in Turkey during Syria’s 11-year bloody war.
“We all would love to return to our country and build it up again,” Mohammed Hawasli, a sales manager of a mobile phone company living in Istanbul told Al Jazeera. “But we left for a re …

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