Agroup of Syrian refugees in Türkiye is planning to form a caravan to reach the European Union, organizers said Saturday.
Plans are being drawn up online via a Telegram channel, set up six days ago and followed by almost 70,000 people. Organizers are calling on people to bring sleeping bags, tents, life jackets, water, canned food and first aid kits.
"We will announce it when it's time to go," one organizer, a 46-year-old refugee who wished to remain anonymous, told Agence France Presse (AFP).
Some of the organizers already lived in the EU, he added.
Organizers say the caravan will be split into groups of up to 50 people, each led by a supervisor.
"We have been in Türkiye for 10 years," read one message posted on the channel by an administrator. "We are protected... but Western countries must share the burden."
There are 3.7 million Syrian refugees officially living in Türkiye.
Syria's civil war, which began with a brutal crackdown of anti-regime protests in 2011, has killed nearly half a million people and forced around half of the country's prewar population from their homes.
The future of nearly 5 million migrants, mostly Syrians, in Türkiye has sparked heated debates in Turkish politics in recent months.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has underlined that migrants and refugees in Türkiye will voluntarily return to their countries once peace is established.
Since Türkiye launched its cross-border operations in 2016, around 500,000 Syrians have returned to safe zones in northern Syria.
On the other hand, several opposition parties regularly call for Syrian refugees to return to their home country.
Türkiye hosts more Syrian migrants than any other country in the world. The country also leads humanitarian aid efforts for Syrians in Türkiye and opposition-controlled areas of northern Syria, while making large investments for Syrians in Turkey in social cohesion policies to help them integrate into society smoothly.
Most Syrians who fled the civil war and escaped to Türkiye are happy in the country and do not want to return home, a recent poll of Syrian refugees in Turkey revealed, however, there is also a group that eyes to start a new life in Europe.
There has been an 86% surge in the number of migrants in the EU in the first seven months of 2022 compared to the same period last year, the bloc’s border agency Frontex last week.
The central Mediterranean route was used by more than 42,500 migrants between January and July, an increase of 44% compared to the first seven months of last year.
The number of detections on the Eastern Mediterranean route remained high with 22,601 arrivals, "more than double" compared to last year.
The agency has been accused of deliberately and systematically cooperating with Greece in illegal pushbacks of asylum-seekers to Turkish waters in the Aegean Sea.