Hasakah IDPs rejects Turkey’ plans to settle Syrians in NE Syria

HASAKAH, Syria (North Press) – Sadly sitting next to a cement room designated to be bathrooms and kitchens for IDPs in the Sere Kaniye Camp, northeast Syria, near her small tent, the 51-year-old Alya Muhammad thinking of her house and possessions that she left behind due to the Turkish invasion of Sere Kaniye in 2019.

Muhammad, mother of five, and her husband with special disability were compelled to leave their city after the Turkish invasion with the support of the affiliated Syrian opposition factions in October 2019.

The invasion displaced about 300,000 people from the areas of Sere Kaniye and Tel Abyad.

Muhammad describes their conditions in the tents as “bad” adding,” Turkey displaced us from our cities, its planes pounded us so we resorted to here to live under a tent surrounded with stones.”

Speaking of Turkey’s plan to settle the Syrian refugees, who are residing in Turkey, in northeast Syria, she says, “It is unacceptable. Let Turkey return them to their hometowns so we can return to ours.”

“Why do strangers settle in our homes? We will not accept the settlement of strangers in our homes. Stop treating us unjustly. They compelled us to live in tents,” she added.

She noted, “Let Turkey return them to al-Assad’s areas or keep them in Turkey. Let them be away from our cities.”

She expressed her desire to return home since camps are not “a place for decent living.”

On Tuesday, Turkish President revealed preparations for a new project that would allow the voluntary return of one million Syrian refugees to Turkish-controlled areas in northern Syria.

“About 500,000 Syrians have returned to the safe areas provided by Turkey since the launch of its operations in Syria in 2016,” Erdogan said in a video message, in which he participated in the inauguration of a housing project in Idlib.

Turkish official statistics say that about four million Syrians live in Turkey.

On April 22, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu revealed, in a statement, that Turkey is currently working on a project to return Syrian refugees to the regions of northern Syria, in cooperation with other countries, in reference to the settlements prepared by Turkish intelligence with the support of Qatari and Kuwaiti funds in Afrin.

These statements come within the framework of completing the process of demographic change that Turkey is implementing in the northern Syrian regions held by Turkish-backed Syrian opposition factions, according to human rights reports.

The Turkish authorities continue to deport Syrian refugees to northwest Syria on pretexts of lacking of the necessary legal documents.

The 35-year-old IDP Mazloum Berkel said that since the Islamic State Organization (ISIS) and mercenaries are running their areas in Sere Kaniye, “so we cannot return to our homes.”

“All of us are wanted by them so we do not dare to return,” he added.

“Erdogan displaced us and this not acceptable neither morally nor humanly. and God’s law does not accept it,” he said.

“We do want to return, we have the right to return to our areas and homes,” the IDP said stressing that the Syrian refugees should be returned to their areas.

The 25-year-old IDP from Sere Kaniye Youssef Radwan Amin,  who lives in Sere Kaniye Camp with his family of four, denounces Turkey’s attempts to resettle the Syrian refugees in their areas.

“These refugees are from Idlib and Deir ez-Zor, whom the Syrian government displaced and Turkey received,” Amin said.

The Sere Kaniye IDPs Committee, which deals with the affairs of Sere Kaniye IDPs, issued a statement condemning Turkey’s attempts to resettle Syrian refugees in the areas under its control in northern Syria.

“Allowing Turkey to cut more areas of northeast Syria and establish settlements is evidence of the inability of the  international community and failure to assume its legal and humanitarian duties regarding this issue,” the statement read.

“We reject and condemn such kind of dirty and aggressive plans that violate international laws and covenants in turn for political gains and legitimizing settlement operations in the occupied areas,” the statement added.

Lawyer Jwan Isso, public relations official in the committee of the displaced people of Sere Kaniye, noted that the Turkish plans to resettle hundreds of thousands of Syrians in the areas under Turkish control is the “second stage of the occupation.”

“The occupation was the first stage, and the second stage is the implementation of demographic change and the establishment of the settlements, which violate international laws and norms,” Isso said.

He added that Turkey through these practices is blocking the path towards solutions to end the conflict and establish security in Syria.

He stressed that Turkey is working to consolidate colonization and work to provoke civil wars between the indigenous population and settlers in the future.

Reporting by Jindar Abdulqader