Syrian migrants in Turkey urged to leave Istanbul to avoid expulsion

Turkey has urged thousands of Syrian migrants to leave one of its biggest cities, Istanbul, in order to avoid facing expulsion.

According to latest reports, unregistered migrants have been pressed to return to their registered province, owning to relieving the pressures put on the city.

Some Syrians however report of them being forced to sign voluntary return documents which they are unable to read or understand. Furthermore, some were deported to Idlib in Syria, which is currently in the middle of a fighting crisis.

International humanitarian law, the ‘non-refoulement’ principle prevents the deportation of migrants to a warzone. The Turkish government on the hand maintains that the Syrian refugees are returning home voluntarily, and to areas which are being secured by the Turkish army.

Based on sources, the order to relocate was issued to the Syrians in late July, to be complied within a month’s time. Figures suggest, half a million Syrians are registered in Istanbul, whereas twice the number is living in the city, originating from provinces where they were first registered in.

In the wake of the situation, the governor of Istanbul announced Syrians who held the right to be in the city were to carry passports, along with other identity proof documents with them at all times. In addition, they were to expect continuous checks at train and bus stations.

About 12,000 migrants were sent back to their registered province by early August, while 2,600 unregistered refugees were transferred to centres falling under interior ministry. In addition, thousands of workplaces have adopted the ‘to prevent unregistered employment’ rule. Moreover, based on results of polling, the support for Syrian refugees has faltered.

The incidence suggests that the patience with Syrian refugees in Turkey is thinning in Istanbul, which is known to be have hosted about 3.6 million refugees since the Syrian war commenced. Eight years since the war began, Turkey is allegedly closing doors and the welcome to Syrian refugees seems to be running out.