More than 68,000 Ukrainians take refuge in Turkey: UN agency

As the Russian-Ukrainian war continues, more than 68,000 Ukrainians have fled to Turkey, an official with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) after a recent event in the central province of Konya, UNHCR’s representative in Turkey, Philippe Leclerc, said the agency was dealing with the “ever increasing number of refugees” in the whole world.

Today, there are more than 30 million refugees and 90 million internally displaced people (IDPs) across the world, Leclerc said.

Those fleeing war and persecution need “protection, residence permits, schooling for their children and medical assistance”, he said, adding that they also need to learn skills to become independent.

“This is the policy that the Turkish government has been following for more than 11 years for up to 3.8 million Syrians who live in Turkey’s 81 provinces,” he said, adding that the agency United Nations supported Turkey’s inclusive policy.

Stating that more than 68,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Turkey since the start of the war on February 24, Leclerc said the number of refugees is increasing daily due to the ongoing war.

The West imposed a series of sanctions on Russia following its war on Ukraine, which led to an exodus of millions seeking safety in other European countries. Poland received the most refugees.

Describing the situation as a “rapid tragedy”, the UNHCR official hoped for peace so that no one would cross the borders and that the refugees could return and rebuild their country.

Commenting on the Syrian crisis, Leclerc said cooperation between Ankara and the UN agency is “very important”. Turkey is the largest host country for Syrian refugees.

The Turkish government has carried out some activities that the agency carried out in the past, such as refugee registration and migration management, he added.

Syria has been in a civil war since early 2011, when the regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.

According to official UN figures, more than 350,000 people lost their lives in the conflict, but human rights groups put the death toll at between 500,000 and 600,000.

More than 14 million people have had to flee their homes, becoming refugees or internally displaced, according to the European Union.

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