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Nearly 312,000 Syrians return home after Turkish ops.

Baku, February 18, AZERTAC

Nearly 312,000 Syrians have returned home after Turkey’s counter-terror operations in northern Syria, Turkish interior minister said on Monday, according to Anadolu Agency.

Speaking in the capital Ankara, Suleyman Soylu said: “311,968 Syrians have returned home after the Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield operations which provided an atmosphere of tranquility and peace.”

Since 2016, Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northern Syria have liberated the region from the YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, including Al-Bab, Afrin, and Azaz, making it possible for Syrians who fled the violence there to return home.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed or displaced in the conflict, mainly by regime airstrikes targeting opposition-held areas.

Soylu also said that Turkey hosts over 3.6 million Syrians granted international protection status.

Turkey has spent more than $32 billion from its own national resources for helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.

The interior minister also updated the figures for the irregular migrants held in nationwide operations this year.

Some 6,523 irregular migrants were held across Turkey in the first five weeks of 2019, he added.

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