Turkey recalibrates refugee policy as Idlib fighting displaces more Syrians

As Syrian regime forces advance on rebel positions in Idlib province, the issue of hosting displaced Syrians continues to occupy many high-level and street-level discussions in Turkey. The nation hosts more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees — more than any other country — and the offensive threatens to push a wave of Syrian civilians toward the Turkish border.

On Tuesday, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu outlined plans to shelter newly displaced Syrians in humanitarian camps along the border inside Idlib, which is currently home to about three million people, some of whom were displaced from elsewhere in the country. Soylu listed a number of internal refugee initiatives aiming to mitigate rising tensions caused by the prolonged presence of Syrians in Turkey.

Following the March 31 municipal elections, Syrian refugees have increasingly become scapegoats for Turkey’s troubles, blamed for exacerbating an economic downturn. Once cast as a source of national pride, the Syrians are now finding themselves the subject of state interventions seeking to diminish their visibility and limit political backlash against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which suffered losses at the ballot box partially due to its loose management of refugee policies.

Read the full story on Al Monitor: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/08/turkey-refugee-policy-idlib-fighting.html#ixzz5xLxmZ26J