Turkey's Harran University to open faculty, school in northern Syria
Harran University, located in Turkey’s southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, said on June 6 that it would open a campus in one of the northern Syrian regions under the control of the Turkish military and its Syrian allies, deepening Ankara’s role in an area it has held for nearly two years.
“We wanted to be a door to hope for the youth there, with the aim of aiding our country’s humanitarian endeavors,” rector Ramazan Taşaltın was quoted as saying on Harran University’s website.
The university will provide education in Turkish, Arabic and English, state-run Anadolu Agency said.
Some 800 Syrian students in the region attended a university admission exam organized by Turkey’s Higher Education Council (YÖK) in May.
Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016 to push back the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from a swathe of northern Syrian land, the west of the Euphrates River, including the towns of Al-Bab, Al-Rai and Jarablus.
Meanwhile, the Turkish cabinet also approved opening a vocational high school in Jarablus affiliated with Gaziantep University, Turkey’s official gazette said on June 5.
Turkish administrators are already helping run hospitals in the area. Schoolchildren in al-Bab study Turkish, while Turkish signposts, Turkish-trained police and a Turkish post office all point to Ankara’s influence in the region.
Turkey launched a second incursion into Syria in January against the YPG in the Afrin district. Ankara considers the YPG terrorists for its links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.