Erdogan: Turkey aims to resettle a million refugees in northern Syria

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that his country aims to resettle 1 million Syrian refugees in the region where it launched a military operation in northern Syria in October.

Erdogan told the official TRT television station that Turkey would fund the settlement plan itself if the allies did not provide it with support.

Turkey and allied groups from the Syrian opposition launched an attack on the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization. And after seizing a section of land inside Syria with a length of 120 km and a depth of about 30 km from the town of Ras Al-Ain to the town of Tal Abyad, Turkey concluded two separate agreements with the United States and Russia to stop the attack.

Turkey had previously stated that it might resettle up to two million Syrian refugees in a “safe area” of 444 km aiming to establish it in northeastern Syria and urged its partners in NATO to support the plans financially.

Turkey currently hosts more than 3.5 million refugees who have fled their country due to the eight and a half years of war. Turkish officials have given no indication of when the refugee resettlement will begin.

“The Turkish state can take a typical step between Ras al-Ain and Tel Abyad,” Erdogan said in the television interview, while he was holding a map of the area with signs.

“The settlement of one million people between Tel Abyad and Ras Al-Ain is our goal in the safe area, and this is our plan.”

Erdogan met last week with leaders of Germany, France and Britain on the sidelines of a NATO summit in London to hold talks on developments in Syria and his plan for a “safe area”.

After the summit, Erdogan said that a country, which he did not name, pledged to support the plan, but Germany, France and Britain did not. And I have previously announced that Qatar may support it.

The European Union and Turkey’s NATO partners reject their calls for material assistance and condemn the Turkish attack, which they say may hinder the fight against the Islamic State in Syria. Turkey rejects those concerns.

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