Syrian refugees to return according to UN criteria
by Daily Sabah with AA
ANKARADec 12, 2019 - 5:33 pm GMT+3
by Daily Sabah with AA
Dec 12, 2019 5:33 pm
The return of Syrian refugees to their homeland liberated by the military operations of the Turkish military and the Syrian National Army will be carried out according to three United Nations criteria, Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said Wednesday. “We are working on a project to facilitate the return of refugees based on three U.N. criteria, which are safe, voluntary and honorable return,” he said after a Cabinet meeting in Ankara. On Oct. 9, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria, east of the Euphrates river to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria's territorial integrity. The operation also aims to thwart the establishment of a terror corridor that the PKK’s Syrian affiliate, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), has attempted to create along its border. Stressing that preparations continue in the Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn region for a safe zone, Kalın said Turkey’s Foreign Ministry, Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and other related institutions are carrying out works with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on the issue. According to the plan revealed by Turkey in September, 140 villages and 10 district centers will be established within the 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. Kalın also said that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would hold a phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. “Our president will discuss in detail the issues on Syria including the situation east of the Euphrates, Manbij, Qamishli, Idlib and other regions. Developments in Libya are also important. They will be discussing these issues with Mr. Putin,” he said. Ankara and Moscow agreed to conduct the joint patrols during high-level talks between Erdoğan and Putin in Sochi on Oct. 22. The two countries reached a deal under which the YPG terrorists will pull back 30 kilometers south of Turkey's border with northern Syria. Erdoğan is also expected to co-chair the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva next week, Kalın said, which is set for Dec. 17-18 to discuss the global refugee crisis and its regional dimensions. Topics such as burden and responsibility-sharing of refugees, education, energy and infrastructure, solutions and protection capacity will also be focused on during the forum. After the forum, Erdoğan will pay a visit to Malaysia to discuss issues facing the Islamic world at a summit with the participation of Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia and Turkey. On efforts to reach a political solution for war-torn Syria, Kalın underlined Turkey's support for the work of the Syrian Constitutional Committee. "We express here strongly that Turkey condemns the steps of the regime in the direction of imposing and undermining the constitutional committee," he added, calling on the Syrian regime to stop taking steps to derail the committee's talks. The constitutional committee, including representatives from the opposition, the regime and guarantor countries, is tasked with writing and establishing Syria's post-war constitution, which is seen as a stepping-stone to elections in the war-torn country. The functioning of the committee, however, faces strong resistance from the Bashar Assad regime. Speaking on possible Turkish military support to Libya, which was voiced by Erdoğan on Monday in an interview, Kalın said there is currently no request from Libya asking for Turkish troops. He also cited the president’s remarks saying there is ground based on agreements between Turkey and Libya for maritime jurisdiction as well as military and security cooperation, the subjects of two pacts the countries signed on Nov. 27. The memorandum determining both countries' marine jurisdictions rejects unilateral and illegal activities by other regional countries and international firms and aims to protect the rights of both countries in line with the international law of the sea.