Forty-thousand Syrians expelled from Istanbul, Turkish deputy minister says
Catakli told journalists that 4,606 unregistered Syrians were sent to refugee camps, while 35,000 who were registered in other parts of Turkey were sent to the provinces where they were registered.
"We will not allow another wave of immigration from Syria to pass beyond our borders. Relevant units have been prepared for this," Catakli said.
"Any potential wave of refugees from Idlib province in Syria will be received outside Turkey," he added.
Syria's rebel-held Idlib province came under an intense assault by the Assad regime last April.
Over a thousand people have been killed and more than 450,000 have been displaced.
Catakli said that Turkey was making strenuous efforts to prevent a bigger humanitarian catastrophe in Idlib.
More than 3.6 million Syrian refugees have fled to Turkey since the beginning of the uprising in March 2011.
Only a fifth of them live in refugee camps, while half a million live in Istanbul, with the rest living in other urban areas.
This has often led to tensions between Syrians and Turks and Turkey has seen a wave of anti-Syrian racism ever since the opposition won mayoral elections in Istanbul in June this year.
The administration of Istanbul province has previously said that all unregistered Syrians must leave the city.
Turkish authorities have also said that some Syrians have "voluntarily" returned to Syria but many of these returns have in fact been forcible.
The administration of the Bab al-Hawa border crossing between Syria and Turkey said that 41,000 Syrians had been deported to Syria through this route alone since the beginning of 2019.