UN to engage with Turkey over resettlement of Syrian refugees



New York (dpa) - The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR will engage with Turkey over its plan to repatriate as many as 2 million Syrian refugees along the northern border of the war-torn country, the world body said on Friday.
The news came after a closed-door meeting between UN chief Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.




"President Erdogan presented the secretary general with a Turkish plan for new settlement areas for the return of Syrian refugees," UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters in New York.
Guterres "informed the president that UNHCR will immediately form a team to study the proposal and engage in discussions with Turkish authorities, in line with its mandate," according to Haq.
The secretary general also "stressed the basic principles relating to the voluntary, safe and dignified return of refugees," his spokesman said.
The talks between Guterres and Erdogan took place on the same day that Turkish and Russian troops launched their first joint patrols in north-eastern Syria, in line with a deal reached between Ankara and Moscow that forced the withdrawal of Syrian Kurdish fighters.
Under the agreement, Turkey will retain control of the area it seized during the offensive it launched on October 9.
Erdogan's long-stated aim has been to relocate some of the 3.6 million Syrians Turkey hosts in 444 kilometres of Turkey's frontier with Syria, with the help of Western allies.
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Saturday, November 2nd 2019
dpa
           


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