Refugees preparing for their return journey to Syria from the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan on October 1 2015. Photo UNHCR
In Syria, over 800,000 refugees returned after the start of the Russian air force strikes. This was stated by the Grand Mufti* of Syria, Ahmad Badr al-Din Hassoun, at a meeting with members of the Russian parliamentary delegation that arrived in Damascus on Friday, October 23. According to Interfax, the Muslim cleric made this statement as a participant in a meeting with Sergei Gavrilov, the head of the Duma Committee on Property.
The Grand Mufti “called on Syria and Russia to engage in mutual support as multi-confessional states.” In general, the meeting was devoted to the issues of spiritual interaction between the two countries, humanitarian aid and the fight against extremism. […]
The Vice President of the Turkish branch of the Red Crescent, Kerem Kinik, said on October 23 that the humanitarian situation in Syria deteriorated after the start of the operation of the Russian air force. The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on October 22 that he observed “clear signs” of an approaching new wave of refugees from Syria.
The Coordinator of the UN Refugee Agency in the Middle East, Amin Awad, assessed the situation differently. According to him, the offensive by government forces with the support of the Russian aviation has affected the dynamics of the movement of refugees within Syria, but did not increase their flight abroad. Representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees stressed that they did not notice a significant accumulation of migrants at the border. […]