More than 10,000 Syrians ‘voluntarily’ return home from Turkey, minister says

More than 10,000 Syrians ‘voluntarily’ return home from Turkey, minister says

More than 10,600 Syrians have “voluntarily” returned to Syria from Turkey after the earthquake that claimed 46,000 lives, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Sunday.

“Contrary to the idea that there were intense crossings into Turkey, they (border officials) said Syrian citizens crossed the border in one direction, from Turkey to Syria,” he said, the Anadolu news agency reported.

“They stated that our Syrian brethren who lost their families and homes in the earthquake voluntarily returned to their homeland.”

“Thermal cameras and unmanned aerial vehicles are used to monitor our entire area of responsibility on a 24/7 basis. There’s no movement at the border and no attempt to cross.”

Turkey’s disaster management agency Afad said that search and rescue efforts have been “completed” in all the affected areas except for Kahramanmaras and Hatay provinces.

More than 12 days after the quake hit, a Syrian man, his wife and 12-year-old son were pulled out alive from the rubble of their building in Hatay.

The Afad said more than 6,000 aftershocks were recorded after the earthquake on February 6.

“The number of aftershocks caused by the two earthquakes has reached 6,040. Among them, 1,628 aftershocks were measured as a magnitude of 3.4, 436 of them with a magnitude of 4.5, and 40 with a magnitude of 5.6. There was also a 6.6 magnitude quake,” Orhan Tatar, the general director of the earthquake and risk reduction at Afad said.

Warning of more aftershocks after the earthquake struck southern Turkey, Mr Tatar said: “Especially after earthquakes of this magnitude, aftershocks will continue for a longer period of time. Some of these aftershocks may have a magnitude 5 and above.”

A UAE field hospital with 200 beds, two fully equipped operating rooms, two intensive care units, a laboratory and pharmacy has also opened at the weekend and begun to receive patients.

The Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Field Hospital in Hatay is the second such site sent by the UAE to be set up in Turkey after a 50-bed hospital in Gaziantep.

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