Turkish NGO builds new settlement in Syria’s Afrin

AFRIN, Syria (North Press) – Turkey built a new settlement in the city of Afrin in northwest Syria after cutting down hundreds of trees, North Press correspondent said on Monday.

An exclusive source told North Press that the Istanbul-based Turkish NGO, Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), provided financial support to construct this settlement in the al-Zaydiyah neighborhood in collaboration with the Turkish-backed local council in Afrin.

The settlement, which consists of 300 houses, was constructed on an old forest land that used to be filled with trees.

The source said the Sultan Murad Division, a faction in the Turkish-backed armed opposition, aka the Syrian National Army (SNA), had previously supervised the logging of trees and division of the land. The SNA faction had given the lands to families of SNA militants in return for $300 after the occupation of Afrin.

Afrin has been under the occupation of the Turkish forces and their affiliated SNA factions, since March 2018 following “Olive Branch” military operation to push away the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) under the pretext of protecting “Turkish national security.”

Since then, Islamist organizations supported by Turkey have constructed multiple settlements to house thousands of SNA militants’ families who came from other areas of Syria. However, the original people of Afrin, mainly Kurds, have been forcibly displaced and resided in deserted villages and IDP camps in the northern countryside of Aleppo.

By Siwar Hamo