One of the major debates during Turkey’s presidential election is the return of the majority of the Syrian refugees back to their country.
Under a joint Turkish-Qatari initiative a total number of 240,000 houses will be constructed across the Idlib and Afrin provinces in order to house more than 1 million Syrian refugees in permanent residences back to their country. The whole project is estimated to last about three years.
Türkiye has been home to some 3.7 million Syrians who fled their country when the civil war broke out in 2011 after the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity. A decade of fighting has left at least half a million Syrians dead and more than 14 million in need of humanitarian aid.
Turkish officials said the process of an organized return not just to the border area but across Syria has already been launched in discussions with Damascus.
Some 554,000 Syrians have so far returned from Türkiye to the region now improved with new schools, hospitals, organized industrial sites and better infrastructure. Additionally, more than 6 million Syrians now live in nearly 107,000 briquette homes in Afrin.
The housing project has been in the works since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani held the first talks a year ago and it will be entirely financed by Qatar Investment Authority.
The fund and Türkiye’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) inked a protocol in April 2023 for the first phase of the project, which will deliver 5,000 units of the 28,681 homes within this year.
In addition to residences, the project will include agricultural plots, commercial facilities, production and industrial areas, and all social equipment from education to health care.
Source: Reuters, Daily Sabah