The Turkish Coast Guard rescue migrants in the Mediterranean The Turkish Coast Guard rescue migrants in the Mediterranean  (ANSA)

Turkey continues to shelter 3.7 million Syrians

New figures show that Turkey granted citizenship to 194,000 Syrians, including 84,000 children last year.

By Nathan Morley

According to the Turkish government, there are around 3.7 million Syrians under temporary protection in Turkey.

The Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said in some regions, the Syrian population accounts for over 25 percent of the total.

Turkey has accepted millions of Syrians fleeing a civil war since 2011. In many camps in southeastern Turkey, near the Syrian border, immigrants were initially welcomed under an open door policy.

In the past three years, nearly half a million Syrians have been voluntarily sent back to northern Syria controlled by the Turkish army.

Listen to Nathan Morley's report

Migrant situation desperate

Elsewhere, the migration situation in the region remains desperate. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said this week that 245 illegal migrants were returned to Libya after being rescued off the coast last week.

In the second week of February alone, 245 migrants were rescued at sea and returned to Libya. IOM also said that since the beginning of the year, 34 illegal migrants died and 87 others went missing off the Libyan coast on the Central Mediterranean route.

So far this year, a total of 1,721 illegal migrants have been rescued and returned to Libya, including 150 women and 53 children.

Libya is a preferred staging point for migrants who want to cross the Mediterranean Sea to European shores.

19 February 2022, 15:41