Erdogan: Turkey to Settle One Million Syrians in Tal Abyad, Ras al-Ain
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that his country aims to settle one million Syrian refugees in the cities of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain where Ankara carried out an operation against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in October.
In a speech delivered on Monday at the meeting of Ministers of Social Affairs of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul, Erdogan said Turkey will offer support to establish new residential areas in northern Syria, adding that work has already been launched to settle one million refugees in the two cities.
Later, Erdogan told state broadcaster TRT Haber that Turkey can carry out an exemplary step between Ras al Ain and Tal Abyad.
“Settling one million people between Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain, that is our aim in the safe zone, that is our plan,” he said.
The president stated that his country spends over $40 billion for asylum seekers and refugees while only 3 billion euros were given in financial support to Turkey by the European Union.
In a related development, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told Anadolu Agency on Monday that with Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria, almost 145-km long, 30-km deep region is now under Turkish control.
He noted that the Syrian National Army (SNA) is fighting side by side with Turkey to neutralize and clear the territory in northern Syria from “terrorists”.
On October 9, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG forces from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Istanbul on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting of “Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process.”
Turkish sources said they discussed regional and international issues, including developments in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Separately, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday that ISIS militants were conducting terrorist acts in the Syrian desert, particularly in Homs and Deir Ezzor by launching repeated attacks against Iranian positions and militias affiliated with them.