Turkiye has prohibited Syrian refugees in the country from visiting family in northern Syria for Eid, marking a significant change in Turkish authorities’ treatment of the refugees.
The announcement of the decision was made by Turkish Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu, to reporters on Tuesday, in which he stated that Syrian refugees in Turkiye would not be permitted to visit northern Syria for the Islamic festival of Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
According to reports, many Syrian refugees in Turkiye who planned to visit their home country for the religious holiday received text messages informing them that their permits to visit northern Syria were cancelled.
The decision is a significant change to Ankara’s policy in previous years, in which it allowed Syrian refugees to travel to safe areas in northern Syria under the control of Turkish-backed rebel groups in order to visit family members during Eid.
The reason for the Turkish government’s decision is not known and has not been revealed, but it comes at a time when Syrian refugees in Turkiye have been facing increasing scrutiny and discrimination by both Turkish society and the government.
These tensions have led to a series of other seemingly discriminatory policies towards Syrians in the country over the past year, such as a quota for the number of Syrians and other foreigners allowed to live in each district and the reported forced deportation of hundreds of thousands of refugees to Syria.