Nearly 330,000 refugees return home to Syria - Turkey's Soylu
Nearly 330,000 Syrians in Turkey have returned home since Turkey successfully completed counter-terror operations in northern Syria, Turkey’s interior minister said on Sunday.
Speaking in Istanbul, Suleyman Soylu said, "329,000 people from Syria have returned so far thanks to the peace provided in Afrin and the area liberated by Operation Euphrates Shield."
Turkey currently hosts some four million Syrian refugees — more than any country in the world — but many have been returning to regions since stability and peace were established by Turkish counter-terrorist operations since 2016.
Over 41,000 Afghan migrants came to Turkey illegally this year and about half of them, some 20,500, were repatriated, added Soylu.
Turkey offers education in northern Syria
Following Turkish army operations clearing areas in northern Syria from terrorists, a university in a Turkish border region is set to offer education in the liberated areas, the university's chancellor told Anadolu Agency on Sunday.
"There was a high demand from local assemblies and provincial leaders. I went [to northern Syria] myself and saw the demand, they really need it," said Ali Gur, the chancellor of Gaziantep University, located in the southeastern Turkish province of the same name.
After local Syrians saw the high-quality education provided at a Turkish vocational school opened last year in Jarabulus in Aleppo, the university applied to Turkish education officials to set up faculties in Syria’s Al-Bab, Azaz and Mare districts.
According to Gur, the faculties in Syria will focus on economics, education, and engineering, and some 2,700 prospective students have already taken proficiency exams.
Gur said Syrians who return for the education and stay in Syria as students will be eligible for scholarships. "Our aim is to send students back there," he added, in hopes of educating a new generation.
Since 2016, Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, including Al-Bab, Afrin and Azaz, making it possible for Syrians who fled the violence there to return home.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed or displaced in the conflict, mainly by regime airstrikes targeting opposition-held areas.