The government in Damascus says it is safe for Syrian refugees in Turkey to go home. But there appears to be little enthusiasm among them to do so. Over 8,500 have so far crossed the frontier, fleeing the military’s crackdown on protesters.
But an envoy from Syria, Hassan Turkmani, who arrived for talks on Wednesday with the Turkish government, appears to think it is less serious than it looks.
“Our citizens are temporarily staying in Turkey, for a short time,” he said. “But soon they will return.”
Yet still they arrive. They come with tales of having been driven out of their homes by tanks and guns.
Not allowing journalists into Syria makes such reports hard to verify. But it is safe to say they did not leave their homes for nothing.
And in Turkey the authorities keep building more shelters and adding more facilities for this growing number of migrants. They could be there for a little bit longer than Assad’s government would wish.