Nearly 100,000 unregistered Syrian refugees removed from Istanbul, says governor

More than 97,000 Syrians left Istanbul in 2019 as part of the Turkish government's resettlement plan, the city's governor Ali Yerlikaya  said on Saturday.

Another 37,582 "irregular migrants" were deported from Istanbul last year, Yeni Şafak quoted Yerlikaya as saying. The governor of Istanbul did not state the nationalities of the migrants.

The relocation of the Syrians living the country’s largest city of Istanbul to their original provinces of registration in the country began in July amid growing public dissent over the migrant population fuelled by economic problems.

Approximately 500,000 of Turkey’s 3.6 million Syrian refugees population are officially registered in Istanbul and experts estimate that 300,000 Syrians living in the city could be affected by the resettlement plan.

Human rights groups and NGOs have been critical of the Turkish government, claiming that some of the Syrians were deported back to conflict zones in war-torn Syria, a claim the government has denied.