Three Syrian families return home from Turkey
A Turkish local authority held a ceremony in Istanbul to mark the return of three Syrian families to their homeland, one of them to the Syrian district of Afrin, captured by Turkish forces 10 days ago.
State broadcaster TRT said 35 Syrians from three families were given a send-off from the Esenyurt district of Istanbul as they boarded a bus for Syria on Tuesday.
“Thirty-five Syrian brothers and sister are returning to their own soil, to a free Syria, to a Syria that we have freed,” TRT quoted Ali Murat Alatepe, the mayor of Esenyurt, as saying. “We have 140,000 Syrian brothers and sisters in Esenyurt,” he said.
Turkish troops and their Syrian Islamist allies captured the town of Afrin on March 18 after a two-month offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces. Tens of thousands of civilians, many of them displaced from other parts of Syria, fled the area ahead of the Turkish advance.
Turkey hosts more than 3 million Syrian refugees, mostly living in the community in towns and cities up and down the country.