The first phase of a new settlement in Turkish-controlled Afrin city in Syria has been completed and was funded by donations from Palestinians, the North Press Agency reported on Saturday.
The Istanbul-based Wafaa Al-Mohsenin Foundation said
34 houses were completed in a statement on August 28. People of Al-Zaeem village in the city of Jerusalem financed the construction of the settlement, it added.
80 housing units will be built in the second phase of the construction, which will be funded by Omani people, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on Thursday.
The Palestinian-funded settlement is another step for Turkish government’s efforts for the Arabisation of Kurdish populated territories in north Syria, since Ankara sees the possibility of a Kurdish autonomous region near its border as a threat to its national security.
After taking control of Afrin city in 2018 by a military offensive carried out together with Syrian rebel groups, Turkey started settling internally displaced Arabs and Turkmens to the territory, while around 300.000 Kurds fled Afrin.
Since 2018, Turkey has built more than 19 settlements in Afrin region with donations received from various Arab countries, the North Press said. Turkey also built around 50 settlements in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, which is currently controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the former Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda, and other rebel groups.
Turkey continues building those settlements under the pretext of refugee relief, while President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan repeatedly voices plans to settle at least one million of almost four million Syrian refugees living in Turkey in north Syria.
Turkey also uses the same pretext as a justification for a potential military offensive that would aim to realise Ankara’s intent to establish a buffer zone near its border stretching 30 kilometres.