Nearly 60,000 Syrians have voluntarily returned to their homeland after the February earthquakes, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said yesterday.
Responding to recent reports about an influx of refugees from Syria, Akar stressed that his country's Syrian borders were "strictly protected against illegal crossings."
"The allegations of illegal crossing through the border do not reflect the truth," he said, noting that the Turkish borders were "protected, guarded and watched day and night, by the most intense measures in the history of the republic, with state-of-the-art technology vehicles and equipment on a 24/7 basis."
The Turkish authorities recently announced that Syrian refugees who reside in 11 earthquake-stricken provinces could leave for their homeland and return "as long as they do not spend longer than six months away." It explained that the refugees could cross into Syria through the Bab Al-Hawa, Bab Al-Salam and Jarablus border crossings.
More than 50,000 people died in the massive earthquakes that hit both Turkiye and Syria in February.
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