New schools to serve locals in liberated provinces of northern Syria

Published 15.12.2018 02:13
Updated 16.12.2018 12:31

Turkey opened nine schools on Thursday in Syria's northwestern Azaz district, which has been liberated from terrorist elements by the Turkish military.

In line with a protocol signed in coordination with the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), the governor's office in the southern province of Kilis and Pakistan-based Baitussalam Welfare Trust opened the schools consisting with 130 classrooms in the al-Iman camp of Azaz.

The National Education Directorate in Kilis provided desks, tables, blackboards and heaters, while the Istanbul-based Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH) provided playgrounds.

AFAD Vice President İsmail Palakoğlu told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Turkey has been helping the Syrians living in the areas cleared of terrorism through Turkish operations for eight years now, since the civil war erupted in the country.

Palakoğlu added that efforts were ongoing with the support of public institutions and no governmental organizations in the country.

The deputy governor of Kilis, Hakan Yavuz Erdoğan, said 10,000 students were going to be educated in the camps when the project is completed.

Operation Euphrates Shield, which began in August in 2016 and ended in March 2017, eliminated terrorists along the Syrian border. On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to free Afrin of the PKK's Syrian affiliate - the People's Protection Units (YPG) - and Daesh terrorists. On March 18, Turkish troops and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) liberated the Afrin district center.

Since then Turkey has been rebuilding the towns' infrastructure and health and education institutions. Schools were renovated and a hospital is being built. Turkey also helps locals build olive oil facilities in the town where agriculture is the main source of income for residents. Tens of thousands of people who fled terrorist groups in Afrin and other places returned to the towns after Operation Olive Branch and Operation Euphrates Shield.

In order to improve the living conditions in Syria, Turkey mobilized state institutions including the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) and AFAD. Kızılay has sent more than 42,000 trucks of humanitarian aid supplies to Syria so far - about a hundred trucks of aid daily. As a result of Turkey's political efforts and anti-terrorist operations, more than 200,000 refugees have returned to their homes.

As part of a recent project, local people in Azaz have also been receiving vocational training at a public education center established by Turkey. The center was opened by the National Education Directorate in Kilis three months ago. The center includes courses in the Turkish language, hairdressing, graphic design, tailoring, electric and electronics, as well as training on the operation and maintenance of heavy machinery. The public education center currently has some 250 students. Apart from Azaz, Turkey has also opened similar centers in the Syrian towns of Mare, Soran and Akhtarin.

The Turkish Health Ministry also opened a new health center last week in the town of Raju in Afrin province. It has internal medicine, dentistry, women's and pediatric outpatient clinics, as well as a blood test laboratory and a pharmacy. The Health Ministry has also set up a mobile hospital and two mobile health service vehicles in Afrin.

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