Efforts to restore order and a secure life in Afrin in northwestern Syria, which was recently freed from the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG), have intensified as a local administration is soon expected to be established in the city.
Addressing fellow Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputies at the party headquarters in Ankara on Thursday, the AK Party chairman, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, reportedly said that a governor will be elected and local administrations will be set up in Afrin now that the YPG has been wiped out of the area.
Government sources were quoted in the media as saying that the local administration to be established in the city will be formed by representatives of tribal and ethnic groups living in the region, and the governor who will be appointed to the city will be selected from among these people. The authority elected by locals will be recognized by the Turkish state, sources have said. The Turkish state has been pursuing a policy saying that Afrin belongs to "the people of Afrin," since the beginning of Operation Olive Branch.
Furthermore, security will be quickly established within the city center. The zone of influence of security forces in the city will gradually spread across the entire Afrin region. Kurdish and Arab forces will first be trained by Turkish security forces.
Apart from ensuring security with Kurdish and Arab forces, the Turkish state has been in close contact with Kurdish leaders who have not been affiliated with the PKK or the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and has been listening to their requests, problems and suggestions as to how the town should be run. The YPG is the militia for the PYD, which is the Syrian affiliate of the PKK. The U.S., EU, and Turkey recognize the PKK as a terrorist group.
Afrin's liberation was announced on March 18 and Ankara has said that life in Afrin will return to normal as soon as possible. Recently, a local council of 30 members was established at the Afrin Liberation Congress, which convened in Turkey's southern city of Gaziantep with the participation of more than 100 people. The congress made several decisions in an effort to rebuild Afrin and enable the return of displaced people. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said recently that Turkey will immediately take the necessary steps to ensure that the residents of the city are able to return to their homes as soon as possible.