Turkey seeks to rebuild Syrian cities after clearing of ISIL

Turkey seeks to rebuild Syrian cities after clearing of ISIL

Fevzi Kızılkoyun – ANKARA
Turkey seeks to rebuild Syrian cities after clearing of ISIL Turkey will start reconstructing infrastructures in the area between Jarablus and al-Rai in northern Syria, which has been cleared of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as part of Turkey’s ongoing Euphrates Shield operation. 

An area covering 2,000 square kilometers along Turkey’s southern border with Syria was cleared of ISIL in the first months of the Euphrates Shield operation. 

Some locals, who fled their homes due to ISIL threat, have already returned to the region. Turkey aims to create a safe area for more locals to return to their hometowns after the region is rebuilt.  

Turkey will send civilian officials, including teachers, doctors, nurses, highway workers and rescue teams from its Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), to the region in order to revive life there, Turkish sources said. 

These include the construction of infrastructure systems, opening bakeries, providing fresh water and education, and repairing damaged buildings like schools and hospitals. 

The teams will be sent through a state of emergency decree, numbered 680, which was released on Jan. 6 that allows “officials, including workers and state officials to temporarily be sent to countries where the Turkish army is stationed.”

The area is currently being guarded by Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters and Turkish forces. Turkish police and gendarmerie special forces will accompany the teams travelling to northern Syria. 

Police and gendarmerie officers, along with civilian officials, have started receiving training to be sent to Syria and are slated to travel to the region soon. 

Around 50,000 people returned to Jarablus since its liberation in late August last year, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said on Jan. 23 after a cabinet meeting. 

Turkey launched its Euphrates Shield operation in August 2016 in order to clear its Syria border of ISIL and the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) forces, which Turkey sees as an affiliate of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), with which it has been in armed conflict since the mid-1980s.