Turkey says 414,000 Syrians return home after military operations

Turkey's success in cross-border operations in Syria has allowed more than 414,061 Syrian refugees to voluntarily return, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Thursday.

Soylu said that permanent stability and normalisation of life was returning to regions where Turkish military operations Peace Spring, Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield were active, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.

Turkey has carried out a series of military campaigns in northern Syria to push back Kurdish militias allied with the United States from border regions and to support local armed opposition groups in a conflict with President Bashar Assad’s military.

Advances by Russia-backed Syrian government forces into Idlib, the last stronghold for rebels and jihadist groups, had pushed hundreds of thousands of refugees northward across the border into Turkey. Russia and Turkey are now jointly policing a key highway in the area designed to reduce the fighting.

Turkey hosts 3.6 million refugees who fled Syria’s civil war, according to September data from the United Nations.