Turkey establishes 3 Kuwaiti-funded settlements in Syria’s Afrin

AFRIN, Syria (North Press) – Turkish and local Syrian organizations, which are financially supported by Kuwait, Qatar, and Palestine, continue to establish new settlements in several areas in the countryside of Afrin, northwest Syria.

Kuwait continues to support establishing settlements in Afrin although the Ministry of Social Affairs of Kuwait issued, in Dec. 2022, a circular, demanding charities stop issuing approvals for philanthropist construction projects in Syria.

The decision came as a result of common endeavors of the government’s entities, especially those concerned with achieving the desired goals of philanthropy and stressed that the charities must abide by the aforementioned instructions, the ministry noted.

An exclusive source told North Press that International Board for Relief, a Turkish-based NGO, with Turkish coordination, has been working on building three settlements in al-Khaldiya forest and Jabal al-Ahlam, southeast of Afrin, for months.  

The three new settlements consist of 400 apartments that are almost ready to be handed over to settlers from the countryside of Aleppo, and Damascus, according to the source.

On Jan. 4, Idlib al-Watan Team opened a housing settlement in Jindires district of Afrin, which is funded by Palestinian donations.

The village, which is named “Palestine Ajnadine,” has the capacity to accommodate nearly 50 families taken from makeshift camps in the countryside of Jindires.

According to figures obtained by North Press, there are nearly 50 settlements built in northern Idlib and some 45 in northern Aleppo, mostly built in 2022.

The projects aim at settling the Turkey-based Syrian refugees and the militants of the Turkish-backed opposition factions, also known as the Syrian National Army (SNA), according to international reports.

In June 2022, Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ), a human rights organization, published an extensive investigative report, in which it detailed Turkey’s demographic engineering in Afrin and its countryside.

Afrin has been under the control of Turkey and the SNA factions since 2018 following a military operation dubbed “Olive Branch” against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) under the pretext of preserving Turkey’s national security.

Reporting by Baha’ al-Nobani