Nearly 500,000 displaced people from elsewhere in Syria have been resettled in properties that belonged to Kurdish people who were forced to leave the Turkish-controlled Afrin, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Monday.
Since the Turkish military and the Turkey-backed Syrian rebels took the control of the mainly-Kurdish canton in 2018, the properties of the locals have changed hands as a part of Ankara’s efforts to change the demographic structure of the region, the war observatory said.
Meanwhile, the building of new residential complexes has continued, it reported. The construction of 40 houses in Jendires district of Afrin countryside have been completed as of January 2023 and handed over by the “Idlib Al-Watan” organisation to members of the Ahrar Al-Sham faction, which dominates several villages in the district, the observatory said. The project includes the building of 200 houses in total as well as a school, a mosque and a sharia Koranic institute on land taken over after the occupation of Afrin.
“The land which was taken over by Turkish forces is fertile, and we were forced to leave our land in 2018, before the Turks started constructing this complex and bringing and settling Turkish-backed militiamen, although we are the real owners of this land,” one of the previous owners of the land told the war watchdog.
There are 18 residential complexes built or being built around areas of Afrin city by Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) with funds secured from Qatar and Kuwait and by “Al-Ihsan” charity and “Al-Aysh Bekaramah Association”, who work under the supervision of AFAD, according to the observatory.