(Photo Credit: Mauricio Lima via The New York Times)
On 3 January, the Turkish Ministry of Affairs and Immigration Management disclosed that 280,206 immigrants were denied entry into Turkiye, which deported 58,758 Syrian refugees back to Damascus in 2022.
According to official data, Turkiye’s deportation of immigrants increased by 161 percent compared to the previous year, with the success rate amounting to 71 percent, excluding repeated arrests.
Ankara’s Migration Department has reported that there are currently 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkiye.
In November 2022, Turkish Deputy Interior Minister Ismail Catakli revealed that 531,326 Syrian refugees had returned to their home country.
Other regional nations such as Jordan and Lebanon also host a staggering amount of Syrian immigrants. According to the UN Refugee Agency, Lebanon is estimated to have 1.5 million Syrian refugees, while Jordan has 675,000.
This recent update on the deportation of Syrian refugees from Turkiye comes a few days after Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and his Syrian counterpart Ali Mahmoud Abbas held a meeting in Moscow a few days prior, marking the first official meet-up between the two regional states since the outbreak of the war in Syria in 2011.
Also attended by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, the meeting was held in a “constructive atmosphere” and is the first in a format of trilateral meetings to ensure stability in Syria and the region, according to a statement by the Turkish Defense Ministry.
This comes alongside a renewed military campaign by Ankara in northern Syria that seeks to establish a “safe zone” for repatriated Syrians back in May 2022.
Despite this, Damascus rejected Ankara’s supposed intentions. Turkiye increased its military presence in Syria in response to November’s Istanbul bombing under “Operation Claw-Sword.”
Turkiye has launched three ground offensives in Syria since 2016. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has assured that Ankara will launch a fourth soon, but whether or not it will take place could depend on Moscow, a military ally of Syria.