Turkish foundation sends aid to 26,000 war-weary Syrian families

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 18.02.2019 00:02

The Türkiye Diyanet Foundation (TDF), an aid organization under the country's religious authority, has provided 26,000 families in Syria with stoves, firewood, blankets, beds and other daily-use items since the beginning of the year.

"From the beginning of 2019 until now, we have provided assistance to approximately 26,000 families in the regions of Idlib and the Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations," İsmail Yiğit, the field coordinator for the organization, told Anadolu Agency (AA). "This figure corresponds to about 130,000 people," Yiğit added.

Since 2016, Turkey's Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria liberated the region, including Al-Bab, Afrin and Azaz, from PKK's Syria affiliate, the People's Protection Units (YPG), and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for Syrians who fled violence to return home. Following the operations, Turkey has also been involved in efforts to rebuild the towns' infrastructure, as well as health and education institutions.

In camps in the Azez district of Aleppo where civilians who were forcibly displaced take refuge, every day 15,000 people eat hot food and 120,000 loaves of bread, the aid group said.

The foundation also renovated 160 mosques that were damaged during the conflict and opened them for worship last year. The maintenance, repair and furnishing of 268 mosques were completed.

Yiğit said that winter season in the region is harsh and floods have rendered the belongings of many families unusable. He added that the foundation had distributed clothes, hygiene items and diapers to families in the region.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Bashar Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity. Turkey has been hosting some 3.5 million refugees, the largest Syrian refugee community in the world. The country has spent some $30 billion for the needs of refugees living in tent camps and those living outside the camps on their own. As the conflict escalated, Turkey stepped up its advocacy for the establishment of safe zones in Syria, to accommodate those who took shelter abroad and internally displaced Syrians.

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