Around 100,000 Syrians living without approval in Istanbul have left it since early July, when the government set a deadline for Syrians not registered in the city to leave for other provinces, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Wednesday.
Syrians registered in other cities had come to Istanbul, leading to an accumulation in the city, the minister told the parliament, adding that a total of 200,000 migrants had left the city.
As sentiment toward Syrian refugees among Turks began to sour in recent years, authorities said Syrians not registered in Turkey’s largest city should return to the provinces in which they are registered by October 30, or face forced removal, Reuters reports.
Turkey hosts some 3.6 million refugees who fled the eight-year-old war in Syria – more than any other country. The Syrian population in Istanbul, home to some 15 million people, had reportedly swollen to more than half a million, more than any other Turkish city.