Turkey reveals number of refugees returning to Syria in 2023

Syrians holding temporary protection cards (kimlik) returning “voluntarily” to Syria - May 22, 2023 (Anadolu Agency)

Syrians holding temporary protection cards (kimlik) returning “voluntarily” to Syria - May 22, 2023 (Anadolu Agency)


Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya revealed today, Thursday, June 13, the number of Syrians returning to Syria from Turkey and the number of refugees within Turkish borders.

Yerlikaya stated that 103,045 Syrians “voluntarily” returned to their country in 2023.

Thus, the total number of Syrians returning between 2016 and 2024 reached 658,463 people, as noted during a review meeting with media representatives in Ankara, according to Turkish channel “NTV Haber.”

The Turkish Interior Minister added that there are 3,114,099 Syrians under the temporary protection system in Turkey.

Regarding foreigners holding residence permits, the minister explained that their number reached 1,125,623 people. As for foreigners living in Turkey under international protection, their number reached 234,528 people.

The minister also spoke about the security efforts to combat migrant smuggling, explaining that 191,450 illegal migrants were prevented from crossing the border within one year.

The minister indicated that Turkish security forces carried out 7,599 operations against migrant smuggling, resulting in the detention of 12,386 people and the arrest of 4,493 of them, while judicial supervision was imposed on 1,793 people.

The Turkish Presidency of Migration Management announced last May statistics on the number of Syrians in Turkey, showing that the number of registered Syrian refugees with temporary protection cards had dropped to its lowest level since 2017, reaching a total of 3,115,536 people, according to the Turkish “Refugees” association.

According to the age group table, males constitute 52.2% of the total number of Syrians, while Syrian females constitute 47.8%.

The number of Syrian males exceeds females by 133,660 people, and the percentage of women and children is 73.4% of Syrians (2,285,154 people).

Istanbul maintained the first rank as the largest Turkish province hosting Syrians, with 530,748 Syrians, followed by Gaziantep with 429,183 people, and then Şanlıurfa with 273,790 people.

Since the beginning of July last year, Turkish authorities have been confronting illegal migrants and refugees through security campaigns in streets, alleys, and workplaces.

On July 9, 2023, the Turkish Interior Minister confirmed in an exclusive interview with Hürriyet newspaper that instructions had been issued regarding the pursuit of “irregular” migrants in Turkey, noting that it might continue for months.

The minister emphasized at the time that within four to five months, the difference in the number of those who violate Turkish state laws will be noticeable as a result of the security campaign that the Turkish state is working on.


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