Activists recently reported via social media that the Turkish government is about to begin issuing new identity cards for Syrians living in Turkey.
Ahsarq al-Awsat newspaper said on Sunday that Turkey has issued new regulations giving Syrians the right to secure their legal status in the country for the first time, adding that Syrian refugees will receive new identity cards under new regulations issued by the Turkish cabinet in October, giving Syrians access to basic services such as health care and education.
Abdul Hamid Hamdan, from the Hussam Orfali Legal Services for Syrians office in Istanbul, said the new cards will enable Syrians to take advantage of hospitals, schools and work permits, in addition to giving access to health services in pharmacies with a 20 percent discount.
However, Syrians may not take advantage of their previous issued IDs. For example, Syrians who received identification documents in Mersin will be refused treatment in Istanbul.
Hamdan said the government is in the process of exempting fines for offenders who have legally overstayed in Turkey.
Nearly 2 million Syrians currently live in Turkish cities and refugee camps, with most refugees facing difficulties in understanding their legal status in the absence of clear legislation.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.