Local people in Khan Shaykhun, a town near the Turkish border in northern Syria's Idlib province, are starting to return after they were forced to flee from their homes following a chemical attack by the Syrian regime forces last year.
Life in the town is slowly but surely returning to normal with the help of Turkish aid organizations.
Fadi Selmani, who has been working in the tailor shop opened by the Turkish Red Crescent, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that life was very difficult, but it is recovering. She added that she was able to get a job and take care of her family thanks to the efforts of Turkey. Pointing out that he was forced to take shelter in Turkey following heavy bombardments, another local, Abdulrazzaq Al-Halid underscored that he returned to his hometown and now felt at peace. On April 4, more than 100 civilians were killed and 500 others, mostly children, were injured in a sarin gas attack in Khan Shaykhun strongly believed to be carried out by Assad regime warplanes. The attack was the deadliest use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war since the Ghouta chemical attack in 2013. International outrage over the attack mounted swiftly, accusing the regime of committing war crimes and violating the Astana talks' agreement that designated Idlib as de-escalation zones along with the parts of adjacent Latakia, Hama and Aleppo which were re-taken by the regime after some time.
Kerem Kınık, the president of the Turkish Red Crescent, yesterday attended the opening ceremony of the preschool where 55 children including some orphans receive their education in the town. He said that they support the teachers' costs, stationery expenses and heating in other schools as well.
Kınık underlined that Turkey's is trying not only to meet basic human needs but also it is investing in the Syrian people's future by fulfilling their needs for education.
"If we will not support these people, they cannot stand up and will be exploited by other people for different purposes," he told AA.
Speaking to reporters, Fatima al-Mustapha, a volunteer teacher who works in the kindergarten stated that children can continue their education thanks to Turkey's help. She noted that after the chemical attack schools were open but they could not find students to go to school as a lot of people fled from the town.
"Locals began to come back slowly with Turkey's help. We can continue our education in our kindergarten, this situation is very pleasing for us," Mustapha added.
Turkey carried out two cross-border military campaigns in the past two years, eliminating Daesh and the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG) near its border. Following these operations, Turkey stepped up efforts to rebuild infrastructure, as well as health and education institutions. The Turkish Red Crescent sent more than 42,000 trucks of humanitarian aid supplies to Syria so far, while sending about a hundred tucks of aid daily. As a result of Turkey's political efforts and anti-terrorist operations, more than 200 hundred refugees also returned to their homes.