Hulusi Akar dismisses claims of refugee influx into Türkiye from southern border with Syria after massive twin earthquakes 2 weeks ago


Over 20,000 Syrians in Türkiye have returned to their home country across the border after the recent earthquakes in Türkiye's southern region, the Turkish national defense minister said on Tuesday.

Speaking to the reporters in the southern Hatay province, Hulusi Akar refuted claims that there has been an influx of Syrian refugees to Türkiye via its southern border, calling them "absolutely untrue."

"Syrian citizens living in Türkiye are returning to their own land due to the loss of their homes and relatives. There are Syrian citizens returning to their homeland from Türkiye to Syria in one direction. Currently, this figure has exceeded 20,000," he said.

On Feb. 6, two powerful quakes struck southern Türkiye.

The magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 tremors were centered in Kahramanmaras and rocked 10 other provinces – Hatay, Gaziantep, Adiyaman, Malatya, Adana, Diyarbakir, Kilis, Osmaniye, Sanliurfa, and Elazig. Some 13.5 million people have been affected by the devastating quakes.

Several countries in the region, including Syria and Lebanon, also felt the trembles that struck in less than 10 hours.

The strong tremors have caused widespread destruction and casualties in Syria.

More than 41,000 people were killed in Türkiye by the back-to-back quakes, according to the latest official figures. Thousands of others were injured.

Türkiye issued a level-4 alert, calling in international aid.

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