Turkey to set up refugee camps in Idlib province
Turkey is setting up camps for 170,000 displaced people in the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib and adjacent areas controlled by Ankara or rebel forces, Reuters reported.
Idlib is one of the last remaining rebel-held areas in Syria. Hundreds of thousands of opponents of the Syrian regime have fled to there for safety.
The camps, which are already being built, will in addition to Idlib be located in Azaz, Tugli, Tal Afar, Naddah, Bardakli and Mashad Rufi, according to Al Jazeera.
“The Turkish Red Crescent and AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Authority) started preparations to set up camps to host 170,000 people near Idlib and the areas of (the) Euphrates Shield Operation,” said Hami Aksoy, a spokesman for the Turkish foreign ministry.
The Euphrates Shield offensive differs from a new campaign Ankara launched six weeks ago in Afrin, an area held by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Turkey has been working to enforce de-escalation zones, which called for the cessation of hostilities between the regime and opposition-held areas.
Ankara has already set up 12 observation posts in Idlib and surrounding regions.
The “de-escalation” agreement largely collapsed in December, after the Syrian regime launched a major offensive to retake the Idlib province. Syria’s ally Russia provided air power, with Iran-backed militias also joining the regime’s offensive.
The Syrian regime launched another major offensive in Eastern Ghouta on 18 February. At least 45 per cent of the rebel-held Damascus enclave has been reportedly recaptured.
More than 800 have died since the bombardment of Eastern Ghouta began last month. Fighting has continued despite a 30-day UN ceasefire covering Damascus suburb and the remainder of Syria’s territory.
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