Naharnet

Syrian Refugees in Turkey Down to 11,100

The number of Syrians taking refuge at tent cities in Turkey has decreased to 11,122 after several hundred people went back home, Turkish officials said Monday.

"On June 26-27, 375 of those who had crossed to our country returned home of their own free will, while another 39 Syrian citizens were admitted in," the emergency situations agency said on its website.

The statement said 51 people, including 15 with gunshot wounds, remained in hospital.

The Turkish authorities continue to provide food to those who remain camping in squalid conditions on the Syrian side of the border, it added.

On Saturday, the head of the Syrian Red Crescent called on refugees to return home, insisting that they would not face retribution or interrogation, Anatolia news agency reported.

"We, as the Red Crescent, guarantee that the Syrian government will not call (the refugees) to account and under no circumstances will security forces take decisions about them," Abdurrahman Attar told Turkish reporters in Damascus, according to Anatolia.

"With the comprehensive amnesty declared, they would not be interrogated," he said, referring to President Bashar Assad's announcement of a general amnesty last week.

Attar said he was awaiting Ankara's permission to visit the refugee camps in the Turkish border province of Hatay to talk to Syrians who may want to return.

Some 1,500 people poured into Turkey Thursday in one of the largest single waves so far after Syrian troops backed by tanks entered a border zone where thousands fleeing a bloody crackdown on anti-regime protesters had massed but hesitated to cross to Turkey.

Source: Agence France Presse


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