The city of al-Bab in northwestern Syria is now home to 400,000 civilians following Turkey's operation to clear terrorism from the region.
In line with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016 across its border in al-Bab, northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents.
Al-Bab was cleared of Daesh terrorists in the sixth month of the operation.
Through projects carried out in the fields of education, health, infrastructure and services, the population in the al-Bab city center and surrounding settlements reached around 400,000.
Attaching great importance to the right to education of those living in the region, Turkey played a major role in the reconstruction of 150 schools in al-Bab, where currently around 150,000 students receive education in the city center.
Also, Gaziantep University, located in Turkey’s southeastern Gaziantep province, established a faculty in the city.
Turkey's Health Ministry has also carried out work in the region to help residents, providing health services within the scope of humanitarian and technical assistance.
Many health institutions catering to citizens have been set up in the region as the ministry has been working to minimize the transfer of patients from Syria to Turkey.
Al-Bab Hospital, established in the city center with the contributions of Turkey’s Health Ministry, has become one of the most important hospitals in northern Syria.
Turkey’s Diyanet Foundation also restored many mosques in the area with the support of philanthropists.
However, residents want the mounting attacks by the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization, the YPG, to come to an end. The YPG targets al-Bab from Syria's Manbij and Tal Rifat areas that remain under the group's control.
In its more than 40-year terrorism campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the liberation of al-Bab, Varda Shahabi, who works with aid organizations for women, said they were happy to be away from terrorism.
"We used to live in fear under the Daesh terror group. There was persecution and a fear of being arrested. We were very afraid of them," she said, adding: "Now that fear has given way to the fear of the YPG/PKK terror group's attack," Shahabi said.
YPG/PKK terrorists frequently mount attacks on liberated areas, Shahabi also said and noted: "All we want is to get rid of the YPG/PKK terrorists as soon as possible. If we get rid of the YPG/PKK (in Manbij and Tel Rifat), the joy of our liberation from Daesh will be complete."
"I settled here after al-Bab was cleared of Daesh. Thankfully, peace and security were achieved. Al-Bab has become my second home," Nasser Ahmad, 23, who relocated to al-Bab after the Bashar Assad regime's attacks on Homs, told AA.
Ahmad, who works as a camera operator in al-Bab, said: "My family also lives here in peace. I hope Assad goes and all Syria finds peace."
The regime has survived nine years of conflict yet is still far from being a proponent of a solution that would end all hostilities. It has blocked several negotiation attempts of a constitutional committee and a U.N.-brokered process to find a political solution.
For years, the Assad regime has ignored the needs and safety of the Syrian people, only eyeing further gains of territory and crushing the opposition. With this aim, the regime has for years bombed vital facilities like schools, hospitals and residential areas, causing the displacement of almost half of the country’s population.
The head of Al-Bab's local council, Mustafa Osman, also said: "Life in the city returned to normal thanks to the services and projects offered by the local council."
"We are trying to solve the water shortage issue within the bounds of possibility. Electricity has supplied to our city. We repaired public buildings and roads," he added.
He underlined that there have been significant investments in the field of health such as the opening of a hospital in al-Bab and vaccination campaigns.
He also drew attention to the joint projects carried out with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the field of agriculture and livestock farming.
"Approximately 200,000 people have had local identity cards so far," he noted.
On Feb. 23, 2017, the district center was liberated from the Daesh terror group after Turkish forces neutralized over 3,000 Daesh terrorists in the seven-month counterterrorism operation.
Settlements spread over 2,055 square kilometers (793 square miles) were cleared of terrorists in 217 days.
Through Turkey’s intense contributions in the fields of health, education and services to help life return to normal, the population in the operation field reached 2 million.