AANES calls on refugees in Turkey to return

Sheikhmous Ahmed, Co-president of the Displaced and Refugees Office in the Autonomous Administration - July 10, 2024 (Autonomous Administration)

Sheikhmous Ahmed, Co-president of the Displaced and Refugees Office in the Autonomous Administration - July 10, 2024 (Autonomous Administration)

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The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) called on Syrian refugees, who hail from areas under its control and are residing in Turkey, to return to Syria following a wave of attacks that targeted Syrian refugees in some Turkish provinces.

Sheikhmous Ahmed, the co-president of the Displaced and Refugees Office in the Autonomous Administration, said today, Wednesday, July 10, that the doors are open to the “region’s” citizens present in Turkey.

He added that the Democratic Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria adheres to the humanitarian and political initiatives it has launched, pointing out that northeastern Syria is open to residents of the area residing in Turkey “who are subjected to the most heinous forms of persecution and racism by the Turkish government.”

Ahmed urged the children of refugees in Turkey to “return to their homeland,” calling on the UNHCR and United Nations agents to support the Autonomous Administration.

He considered that the international community is required to react to the “violations and assaults on the properties of Syrian refugees in Turkey,” noting that the Autonomous Administration will extend a helping hand to refugees to facilitate their return to their regions.

The official’s discussion in the Autonomous Administration about Syrian refugees follows the assaults on Syrian shops in Turkish cities earlier this July. Observers believe that AANES is seeking international support through the refugee issue.

Acts of violence and assaults on the properties of Syrian refugees escalated in several Turkish cities earlier this month, in addition to a number of night protests demanding the deportation of Syrians.

The assaults extended to the cities of Hatay, Gaziantep, Kilis, Kayseri, and Bursa, according to what was monitored by Enab Baladi.

The protests were followed by a state of anger in northern Syria in response to the violence against Syrians, as Syrians protested in northern Aleppo cities, attacking Turkish commercial vehicles and Turkish employees working in the area.

At the end of the protests, the Turkish government announced the arrest of more than 1,000 participants in the assaults, revealing later that most of them had criminal records.

AANES unable to receive refugees

The Autonomous Administration previously presented itself as a solution for the Syrian refugee issue, stating last April that it received the first group of Syrians deported from Iraq towards its controlled areas.

It had also launched an initiative to receive Syrian refugees stuck in Sudan following the outbreak of battles between Sudanese military factions more than two years ago.

AANES received Syrians who survived the battles at Qamishli Airport at that time. It remains unclear whether they stayed in its controlled areas or moved to another destination.

In Lebanon, AANES also tried to play a role in the Syrian refugee issue, a prominent crisis in Lebanese politics. AANES representative in Lebanon, Abdel Salam Ahmed, had previously told North Press Agency that AANES expressed its readiness last year to receive Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and at that time, several families arrived in its controlled areas.

While AANES seeks to repatriate refugees, its controlled areas suffer from poor services and deteriorating living conditions, making its residents look for migration destinations similar to other controlled areas.

AANES has been tightening control for years on the region’s Arab population, who do not have adequate representation, even though Arab tribes make up the majority of the region’s population, causing periodic security tensions to resurface.

In December 2022, AANES’ Interior Authority issued a statement saying that it grants displaced persons to its controlled areas in northeastern Syria an “expat card”.

It added that the authority’s measures had not witnessed any case of deportation outside AANES’ controlled areas, regardless of the person’s status, noting that there was “flexible work for all people who are from outside AANES’ areas.”

Last March, the Internal Security Forces (Asayish) in the Autonomous Administration began summoning displaced persons from Deir Ezzor residing in al-Hasakah governorate, specifically in Qamishli city, through neighborhood chiefs or via phone calls, to renew the “expat card” and threatened non-compliers with “deportation from the area.”

 

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