415,000 Syrian babies born in Turkey since 2011: Ministry
More than 400,000 Syrian babies have been born in Turkey since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, said an official from Turkey's Interior Ministry.
"The population of Syrians in Turkey is a young one, as [only] around 100,000 among 3.6 million Syrians in Turkey are older than 60," said Abdullah Ayaz, who heads the ministry's migration management department.
"Since the start of the crisis, more than 415,000 Syrian babies have been born in Turkey," Ayaz told a meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) in Turkey's capital Ankara.
The two-day meeting will last through June 20 at the Turkish parliament.
Turkey hosts more Syrians than any other country in the world.
Ayaz said that Turkish officials are continuing work to make sure all Syrian children get an education.
He added that since 2011, Turkey has barred more than 74,000 foreigners from entering the country.
Turkey has been a main route for irregular migrants trying to cross to Europe, especially since 2011, the start of the Syrian civil war.
Over 265,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to the Turkish Interior Ministry.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.
According to UN figures, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed or displaced in the conflict, mainly by regime airstrikes in opposition-held areas.
Turkey marks World Refugee Day
Turkey on June 20 marked World Refugee Day by calling on the international community to show solidarity with forcibly displaced people worldwide.
In a statement, the country's Foreign Ministry said the international community should “show more solidarity with these people and host countries in line with equitable burden and responsibility sharing".
"We wish that World Refugee Day will be an occasion for the improvement of living conditions of refugees and asylum-seekers," it added.
The statement noted that the number of persons displaced due to various reasons such as conflicts, natural disasters and human rights violations increases everyday across the world.
"We believe that it is the common responsibility of the international community to provide necessary conditions for these people to live in dignity, to create conditions that would ensure safe return to their countries and to solve the problems forcing them to seek asylum," the ministry said.
Noting that Turkey is currently hosting 4 million refugees, the statement said: "Today, services we provide them in several fields, in particular health, education and access to labor market, are a guide for the international community."
Criticizing the international community for not doing enough on its part, the Foreign Ministry said: "We regrettably witness the rise of xenophobia, racism and discrimination against these people, who are economically and culturally enriching host countries and communities."
Playing an active role at the international platforms for the improvement of the refugees' rights, Turkey will continue to support the Global Compact on Refugees adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2018, it added.
Turkey will co-chair the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva on Dec. 17-18, 2019.
“We invite all countries and stakeholders to participate in the Forum at the highest level and to declare significant pledges for refugees at this Forum,” the statement said.