10,000 Syrians went back to homeland since earthquakes, says Turkish Defense Minister

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has refuted the allegations of the existence of a “Syrian refugee influx” to Turkey’s quake-hit Hatay. He said that on the contrary 10,633 Syrians have “voluntarily” left Turkey for their homeland since the Feb. 6-dated major earthquakes.  

People walk past collapsed buildings in the town of Jinderis, in Syria's Aleppo province, following the Kahramanmaraş-based earthquakes.

Duvar English

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Feb. 19 said that approximately 10,000 Syrians have “voluntarily” gone back to their home country following the two major earthquakes based in southeastern Turkey.

He said that previous reports of “refugee influx” into Turkey stemming from the Feb. 6-dated earthquakes did not reflect the truth and were just “allegations that are completely untrue.”

“We have received information from the relevant authorities with regards to the issue and conducted analysis in the field. On the contrary to allegations that there is a dense influx to Turkey, they (officials) have said that Syrian citizens have been passing from Turkey to Syria. They have indicated that our Syrian brothers have voluntarily gone back to their land after losing their families at the earthquakes,” Akar was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu Agency.

“After the earthquakes, 10,633 Syrians have voluntarily gone back to their land. Therefore it is not the case that there is passing to our country via the border nor border gates in masses,” he said.  

The Kahramanmaraş-based earthquakes have wrought destruction across southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria, displacing thousands and pushing them into makeshift cities filled with shipping container homes or rows of tents.

About 84,700 buildings have collapsed or are in need of immediate demolition due to severe damage, Turkish Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum said on Feb. 17.