A delegation from the US State Department and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) visited a refugee camp in İslahiye, a town in the southern province of Gaziantep, where Syrians who have fled the violence in their country are being sheltered.
The delegation, including Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration Anne C. Richard, USAID Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance Nancy Lindborg and US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, was welcomed by the İslahiye district governor, Osman Beyazyıldız, on Thursday.
During their visit to the camp, the delegation spoke with refugees.
Ford thanked the Turkish government and its people for their support of the Syrian refugees.
During their visit, from Jan. 23-31, the delegation will meet with representatives from international humanitarian and nongovernmental organizations to discuss assistance for Syrian refugees and have talks with Turkish government officials and members of the Syrian opposition coalition.
A statement by the US State Department said on Tuesday that the delegation will have meetings with officials to discuss ways in which the United States can provide additional support for the Syrian refugee issue.
The delegation will then travel on to Jordan. The statement said: “In Jordan, the delegation will visit programs that support Syrian refugees living in local communities. They will also meet with representatives from the government of Jordan and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.”
The statement added that to date, the US has provided $210 million in humanitarian assistance to help more than 3 million people in Syria and more than 650,000 people who have fled to the safety of neighboring countries. “Life-saving food, medical care, blankets and essential winter supplies from the American people are reaching children, women and men in all 14 governorates inside Syria, as well as refugees outside the country. In Aleppo alone, US-funded humanitarian assistance is helping more than 250,000 people in need,” it added.
Number of Syrian refugees in Turkey reaches 162,329
The Prime Ministry's Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) announced on Friday that Turkey is currently hosting 162,329 Syrian refugees who have fled the 22-month civil war in their country.
AFAD noted that the total number of refugee camps in Turkey is 13: five tent cities in Hatay province, three in Gaziantep, two in Şanlıurfa and one each in Kahramanmaraş, Osmaniye and Adıyaman. There are also container cities in the southern provinces of Kilis and Şanlıurfa.
According to AFAD's figures, 230,724 Syrians have crossed into Turkey since the uprising started in Syria and 68,395 of these people have returned home.
Meanwhile, 79 Syrians, including four colonels who defected from the army and their families, crossed into Turkey on Friday.
The Syrians were sent to the Apaydın military camp, which hosts high-ranking Syrian military officers and their families.
In addition, four Syrians who were wounded during clashes in the city of Idlib in Syria were brought to Turkey by truck for treatment. They were taken to hospitals in Hatay.
AFAD said that Syrian citizens who have taken shelter in Turkey have been provided with lodging, food, health services, security, social activities, education, religious services, translation services and communications.
Turkish NGO hands out food, winter clothes to Syrians
As a part of the “Bread and Blankets for Syria” campaign, Turkish nongovernmental organization Kimse Yok Mu? (Is anybody there?) on Friday handed out food and winter clothes to Syrians sheltering in southern Turkey.
Besides Kimse Yok Mu, numerous Turkish aid foundations, charity organizations, nongovernmental organizations and associations, including the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH) and the Cansuyu Aid and Solidarity Association, launched the campaign last December which aims to collect aid for Syrian refugees.
Syrians living in Turkey's southern province of Hatay in rented houses were given food, blankets and winter clothes by the organization.