Turkey's Erdogan says more than 310,000 Syrians return home

Source:Xinhua Published: 2019/2/25 0:52:41

Some 311,000 Syrian refugees have returned to their homeland following military operations launched by Turkey in Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.

"So far, 311,000 of our Syrian brothers (refugees) have returned to the regions (Syria) secured by Turkey," Erdogan said during a rally in the southeastern city of Kahramanmaras, state-run Anadolu agency reported.

He said Syrians have returned to areas in Afrin, Jarablus and Idlib that were cleared of terrorists by Turkish forces and its allies.

The Turkish leader also said that Europe owes its current peace to the "sacrifices of Turkey" and its people, referring to a deal inked in 2016 between his country and the European Union, adding "they (Syrians) want to return to their homeland as soon as possible."

Since 2016, Turkey has launched two cross-border operations in northern Syria against the Islamic State (IS) and a US-supported Kurdish militia, the People's Protection Units (YPG).

Erdogan also stressed that Turkey was keen on chasing the YPG from east of the Euphrates river so as to accelerate Syrian refugees' returning home. "Millions of Syrians will return home when we secure the east of the Euphrates," Erdogan said.

Turkey, which has spent 37 billion US dollars hosting 3.6 million Syrians, insists that it cannot accept anymore refugees from the war-torn country.

Posted in: MID-EAST

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