Türkiye prepares homes in northern Syria for voluntary return of Syrian refugees

Türkiye prepares homes in northern Syria for voluntary return of Syrian refugees

With support of Qatar, houses for 1M refugees under construction in Syria, says President Erdogan

AZAZ, Syria (AA) - Ankara is currently working on the safe return of Syrian refugees in Türkiye to their country, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said, as Syrian citizens praise the peaceful atmosphere created in Syria after their voluntary return.

Erdogan on Thursday also noted that "with the support of Qatar, the work to build houses in Syria, which can accommodate 1 million refugees, continues."

Wafaa Mustafa Hajjaj, a Syrian citizen who lives with her child and nephews in Azaz, in the countryside of Aleppo, told Anadolu that she came to Türkiye for treatment after she lost her eyesight in an attack on her village.

Hajjaj, who stayed in Türkiye for five years, pointed out that during her stay, Turkish people have always supported her and her family.

Hajjaj noted that she voluntarily returned to Syria.

The Syrian citizen hailed the Turkish effort in preparing the infrastructure for the Syrian refugees' return.

“The camp where we reside has water and electricity, and the needs are met through solar energy,” Hajjaj told Anadolu.

She stressed the safety of the area she currently resides, adding: “I believe that the rest of the Syrian refugees will return to their homeland whenever security prevails.”

"These areas are now safe because of Türkiye’s presence,” she added.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on Wednesday attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the project Voluntary, Safe, Honorable Return Project in the northern Syria district of Jarablus, where he said a total of 240,000 houses will be constructed at nine separate locations across the Idlib and Afrin regions in next three years.

Since 2016, Turkey has launched four successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable peaceful settlement by locals: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), Peace Spring (2019), and Spring Shield (2020).

Thanks to these operations, the pace of the return of Syrian refugees from Türkiye to their country has accelerated.

More than 3.7 million Syrians currently reside in Türkiye, making it the world's top refugee-hosting country.

Following the start of a civil war in Syria in 2011, Türkiye adopted an "open-door" policy for Syrians fleeing persecution and brutality.

Syria has been embroiled in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN estimates.

* Writing by Ikram Kouachi.

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