Turkey to build quarter million settlements in 13 regions in Syria

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on Saturday that Turkey would be constructing 240,000 buildings in northern Syria “as part of a Voluntary, Safe and Dignified Return”.

The international community and NGOs will be providing support for the project, and Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) will coordinate, Soylu said.

“Sixty five thousand people will live in 10,402 dwellings to be constructed in Tell Abyad,” he said. The dwellings will be the first stage of the project.

Other areas of construction include Jarablus, al Bab, Ras al Ayn and Azaz, according to the minister.

Tell Abyad, separated from the Turkish town of Akçakale by only the border line, came under control of Turkish forces and their Syrian proxies in the 2019 Operation Peace Spring. The incursion was launched after former U.S. President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria.

The United Nations has urged Turkey to investigate allegations of widespread human rights violations in the town.

There are still some four million Syrians in Turkey under a temporary protection status, most of whom have been living in the country for a decade. As of May 2022, some 200,000 Syrians have been granted Turkish citizenship.

Fringe far-right political factions in the country have been on an upward trajectory over rising anti-refugee sentiment in the country, and migrants and refugees from Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan have been a major factor in the ruling Justice and Development losing support in the polls.

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