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170,000 Syrian babies born in Turkey since start of war

Turkey has so far spent over $12bn on refugees, according to the country’s aid agency AFAD
A Syrian woman holds a baby as she waits to return to Syria in February (AFP)

At least 170,000 Syrian babies have been born in Turkey since refugees started coming into the country from Syria, a Turkish aid agency said on Wednesday.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said it also provided special meal options to pregnant or breastfeeding refugee females at maternity and child healthcare facilities across the country.

Turkey hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees in the world, around 3 million, and has so far spent more than $12bn on the refugees. Help from the international community has so far amounted to around $512mn, AFAD said.

AFAD has also sent around 1.63 billion Turkish liras ($520mn) worth of humanitarian aid to Syria since the war began, the agency said.

At least 82,000 Syrian children were admitted to schools at resettlement centres, it said.

Cooperation between Turkey’s Education Ministry and the AFAD ensured that 310,000 children of kindergarten and high school ages were taken off the streets and admitted to schools, it added.

At least 115,000 Syrian adults gained employable skills after going through various certificate programs organized at AFAD centres.

AFAD also said several women also took part in mukhtar (local head) elections and participated in the management of refugee camps.

The agency’s staff have also been raising awareness among refugees about early marriages and polygamy.

According to the authority, at least 400,000 people including civilians lost their lives in Syria since the conflict began.

At least 13.5 million people in the 20 million-strong country are in need of humanitarian aid. While 6.1 million people have displaced, around 4.8 million fled to neighbouring countries.

Turkey’s AFAD has 26 settlement centres across Turkey and offers help to physical, social and psychological needs of refugees.

According to the UN’s Refugee Agency, Turkey hosts the largest population of refugees, including child refugees, in the world.