Turkish NGOs and institutions have been continuing in their efforts to lay the basis for the return of displaced Syrian refugees, with food aid, medical assistance and infrastructure being rebuilt, underlining that the liberated areas in northern Syria would have the potential to host 2 million people if necessary conditions are met.
"Two million people can return here. With the infrastructure, terrain and our government's settlement policies, this region easily host 2 million people – yet this relies on global support," Turkish Red Crescent President Kerem Kınık said yesterday, adding that the charity organization was supporting government efforts with its own means.
Kınık further explained that the areas liberated as a result of Operation Olive Branch in particular, as well as the legacy of Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Peace Spring, would require the continuation of reconstruction efforts. The Turkish Red Crescent, together with the Health Ministry, operates six hospitals, one mobile hospital and 34 medical centers with almost 2,300 health personnel, while 150,000 people are being hosted in 10 camps, according to Kınık.
Turkey's efforts to normalize the regions liberated from PKK's Syrian affiliate People's Protection Units (YPG) and Daesh terrorists have enabled citizens to return to their everyday lives, with schools and hospitals reopened and roads built. Since Turkey's anti-terror Operation Peace Spring launched on Oct.9, the liberated areas of northern Syria have been put back on the path to normalization with the start of reconstruction work.
After launching three consecutive operations in northern Syria, Turkey rolled up its sleeves to reconstruct any hospitals, schools, mosques and roads that were destroyed by the YPG.
Indicating that food aid was still being distributed in the camps, Kınık stated that the group currently operates mobile clinic services in Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn, with continuous deliveries of flour and food over the border.
Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn are the latest Syrian provinces to have been liberated from terrorist elements by the Turkish military operation. Sweep activities are ongoing in both of the districts that were cleared of terrorists during the operation, a Turkish provincial governorate said Monday.
According to the governor's office in Turkey's border province of Şanlıurfa, the activities are ongoing in Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn, which had been occupied by YPG/PKK terrorists for many years and were deprived of urban services. Furthermore, since the terrorists left the regions littered with bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) hidden among civilian settlements including residential buildings, schools, bridges and roads, the TSK is continuing its work to detect and neutralize the explosives.
"Efforts are continuing to help life return to normal in Ras al-Ayn's Nukra village, which has no water or electricity access. To find a solution, a 75 KW electricity generator was set up," the Defense Ministry said Monday.
Turkish officials previously announced that 365,000 Syrians had returned so far. According to Turkey's safe zone plan, 140 villages and 10 district centers will be established within a 30-40 kilometer-deep safe zone in northern Syria, housing 5,000 and 30,000 inhabitants each, respectively. The settlements will be provided with various facilities so that the people living there will be able to have a normal life with every necessity met. Each village within the area will have 1,000 houses, and each district will have 6,000 new homes built, making 200,000 new residences in total. The construction is expected to cost about $26.6 billion.
"Our new project in Syria is to support the voluntary return to Syria program of our government. The returns have started. Especially those people from Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn that were forced to flee to our country after the YPG terrorist organization's occupation are returning to these regions, just as people returned to Afrin after it was cleared in Operation Euphrates Shield," Kınık said, adding that after security and infrastructure is provided, the returns will increase.