UN refugee chief tours Syrian refugee camp in Turkey

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) comes together with Syrian refugees on his first official visit to Turkey’s southeastern province of Gaziantep

Photo by: UNHCR
Photo by: UNHCR

Syrian mother Fatma and her daughter Farah, sit with Gaziantep province Deputy Governor Halil Uyumaz, Fatma's husband Ahmed and Filippo Grandi at Nizip II refugee camp, Turkey on Jan. 15, 2016

The new head of the UN’s refugee agency has visited on Friday a Syrian refugee camp in Turkey’s southeastern region which hosts more than a million refugees.

Filippo Grandi, who became the High Commissioner for Refugees earlier this month, arrived at the camp in the Gaziantep province’s Nizip district where some of the nearly 2.5 million refugees housed by Turkey are staying.

He described his presence in Turkey as, "a visit to the front line in the world's largest refugee crisis," and a conscious choice as his first visit in order to demonstrate to the world that Turkey is doing a great job in terms of handling a massive flow of refugees according to the UNHCR.  

Grandi was welcomed by Fuat Oktay, who is the president of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), to the camp.

“They want to go back to their country as soon as peace comes,” Grandi told journalists when asked what the families he met had told him at the refugee camp.

The Italian diplomat also paid visits to a training centre for Syrian women and a kindergarten in the district during his trip.  

The Nizip camp is one of the 25 Turkish camps established by the country, housing around 280,000 Syrian refugees according to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency.

Syrian refugees, escaping the violence in their country, fled Syria in large numbers following the escalation of the Syrian Civil War in 2012.

One of their most preferred destinations was neighbouring Turkey, which hosts the most Syrian refugees in the world according to registration records of the United Nations.

Turkey has reportedly spent more than a record $8 billion of its own resources on the refugees.

The Syrian civil war has claimed more than 260,000 lives and turned the country into the world's largest source of refugees and displaced persons.

TRTWorld, AA