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Turkey repatriates dozens of Syrian refugees to border 'safe zone'

Refugees were sent back to Ras al-Ayn in Syria [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 November, 2019

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Turkey has repatriated dozens of Syrian refugees to a 'safe zone' on the Syrian-Turkish border recently captured from Kurdish forces.
Dozens of Syrian refugees were returned from Turkey on Friday in the first reported repatriations to the area targeted by Ankara's offensive against Kurdish forces last month, state news agency Anadolu said.

Around 70 Syrians, including women and children, crossed from Ceylanpinar in Turkey to Ras Al-Ayn in Syria, Anadolu reported.

Muazzin al Mohammed, one of the refugees, said he had been living in Turkey for seven years, adding: "We are happy to return to our homeland. I was 11 years old when I left Ras Al-Ayn."

Read more: Some Syrians are fleeing Turkey’s offensive, others are returning home

Turkey launched the Syria offensive last month to push Kurdish militants back from its border and create room to repatriate Syrian refugees.

Turkey's defence ministry said on Thursday that around 200 people had returned to the Syrian town of Tal Abyad from another part of northern Syria now that Kurdish militants had been cleared.

But analysts have cast doubt on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's claims that Turkey can repatriate up to two million Syrians to a "safe zone" being created in the north of the country.

Turkey is home to some 3.6 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country.

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