Life in Afrin returns to normal with Turkey's support

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 17.11.2018 00:53

Local people from northwestern Syria's Afrin are welcoming the peaceful environment following Turkey's operation in the region that eliminated terrorist elements from the province.

"Peace and stability have been provided in general terms," Said Suleiman, the head of Afrin local assembly said to Anadolu Agency (AA) on Thursday. He stressed that each day positive steps are being taken the support of Turkey since the anti-terror operation.

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to remove the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG) from Afrin. The Turkish military and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) entered Afrin town center and liberated it from terrorists on March 18. Following the operations, Turkey has also been involved in efforts to rebuild the town's infrastructure, as well as health and education institutions.

Besam Abdulhakem, a shopkeeper in Afrin told AA that they were pleased with the new developments in the town. Abdulhakem said that he got treatment in a hospital in Turkey and returned to Afrin. He thanked the Turkish government for their support in Afrin. Since the terrorists were cleared from the city, many locals have been able to open new shops in the city center. Turkish products can easily be found in these shops and people also can shop using the Turkish lira.

Following Operation Olive Branch, many Turkish humanitarian agencies, including the Turkish Red Crescent, have been distributing food daily in the district center and villages, with the aim of meeting the needs of the people.

Commenting on the developments in the field of health, Suleiman said many hospitals and health centers which provide free treatment and medicine were established. He said that the schools in the city were restored and teachers started classes.

Suleiman said that there have been ongoing efforts to increase support and investment in the region. "We have been carrying out efforts to establish a chamber of commerce which would prompt investments," Suleiman said, adding that, "the new Olive Branch crossing has raised people's hopes for developing trade."

Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said on Nov. 9 that Turkey has officially opened a new border crossing to the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin to speed up the delivery of humanitarian aid, it has been operational since Nov. 8.

Pekcan said that the gate would be named "Olive Branch" after Turkey's cross-border counterterrorism operation.

Turkey's Customs and Trade Ministry and the Hatay Governor's office in southern Turkey previously announced that they had agreed to open the gate near the village of Hamam in Kumlu district. The village is located near the town of Jandaris in Afrin district.

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