Ali Kayalar - Hürriyet Daily News / Istanbul, Aug 17 () - The number of Syrian refugees in 10 cities across Turkey now rivals the population of local residents and even outnumbers it in one city, a senior Turkish official has told the Hürriyet Daily News.
“In at least 10 cities, the number of Syrian refugees now constitutes a sizable portion of the city” the official said during a meeting with a small group of journalists on Aug. 15.
The official specifically referred to the town of Kilis in the southeast near Turkey’s border with Syria, which he described as a “Syrian city” in terms of population. “The local population is 108,000 and the number of refugees is 110,000” he said.
A relatively small portion of the Syrian refugees in Turkey are in 25 camps across 10 cities. The remainder tries to make a living in cities, many in very harsh conditions.
Some 225,000 Iraqi refugees add to the 1.8 million to 1.9 million Syrian refugees in the country.
“We are in an incredibly unstable geography,” the official also said, referring to the problem of foreign fighters transiting Turkey.
“Think about how the wars to our south, and the members of Daesh coming from more than 110 countries, from A to Z there are all kinds of terrorist organizations in Syria. We have a border of 1,300 kilometers with Syria and Iraq, more than half of all border patrol units are located on the Syrian border” the official added, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL]. “We have implemented every necessary measure that can be done to prevent the flow of foreign terrorist fighters and to prevent any kind of security threat toward Turkey from Syria where you have one the bloodiest internal wars.”