New group of Syrian policemen trained in Turkey returns home
AA photoA second group of Syrian police officers trained in Turkey as part of a joint initiative by Turkish forces and Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions has started to return to Syria.
After completing their training inside Turkey, the group of armed men was sent from the southeastern border province of Kilis back to Syria’s al-Rai and Azaz districts within Aleppo province, where they will serve as police forces.
The police vehicles that are going to be used by these personnel inside Syria have also been provided by Turkey and on Feb. 27 their passage through the Kilis’s Öncüpınar border gate took place. While large trucks carrying the police cars were spotted passing through the border, the “police” signs written in Arabic and Turkish on the vehicles drew particular notice.
The first group of 450 recruits was sent to the northern Syrian town of Jarablus around a month ago after the town was cleared of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants as part of Turkey’s military Euphrates Shield operation.
With the first group starting to serve in Jarablus, a police station was also built and became operational in the town. The police forces will serve in a wide range of areas, from traffic and public security to the fight against terror.
Turkey launched its ongoing Euphrates Shield operation on Aug. 24, 2016 with the aim of clearing its border of terrorist organizations, which include the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey regards as a terrorist organization due to its ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
In the first few days of the operation Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) members with help from Turkish artillery, air strikes and troops, captured the border town of Jarablus. This was followed by the symbolically important town of Dabiq and lastly the northern Syrian town of al-Bab on Feb. 24.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the next target following the capturing of al-Bab would be Raqqa, ISIL’s de facto capital in Syria, where an operation led by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has been conducted since late December last year.