Syrian refugees in Turkey return home for holidays

Via Al-Monitor – Thousands of Syrian refugees in Turkey have rushed since June 1 to the Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salam crossings on the Turkish-Syrian border to spend the Eid al-Fitr holiday in their homeland. The dates of the holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan, vary by location and Islamic sect. This year it will begin June 25 or 26.

Authorities opened the Cilvegozu/Bab al-Hawa crossing June 1, and refugees with proper identification documents can use that crossing to return to Turkey until Sept. 30. The Oncupinar/Bab al-Salam crossing is more restricted: It was open June 13-23 for people to leave Turkey, and refugees with ID using that crossing may return no later than July 14.

For Syrian refugees in Turkey, the chance to meet with relatives and visit their homeland is not to be missed, particularly since the border crossings have been closed to civilians and crossing into Turkey illegally has been an almost impossible journey.

When the refugees arrive at the Turkish side of the crossing, they are required to complete legal procedures and hand over their temporary protection IDs. At the same time, they obtain a card allowing them to return to Turkey. Then they are bused to the Syrian opposition’s immigration and passport office, where they select a return date, allowing the crossing administration on the Syrian side to organize their return to avoid overcrowding.

Continue reading at Al-Monitor