Turkey might be orchestrating further demographic transformation in Afrin (Efrîn), a region in northern Syria that was predominantly Kurdish before coming under Turkish control through military actions in 2018 and 2019. Although these claims are supported by images of newly built settlements, they remain unconfirmed and are based on the assertions of journalist Nedim Türkmen, along with subsequent reports from Kurdish sources.
🔴 Controversy hits as journalist makes veiled claim that Turkey is preparing to accept 500,000 displaced Palestinians and resettle them in Turkish-controlled areas of Syria.https://t.co/lOOQFfNPAe pic.twitter.com/hneQ1nlv9J
— MedyaNews (@1MedyaNews) October 17, 2023
On 15 October, Türkmen alluded to plans for relocating 500,000 Palestinians to areas in “our south”, presumably referring to northern Syrian territories. This statement, which was abruptly interrupted during a live broadcast, has not been officially confirmed or denied.
The allegations are bolstered by photographs showing new settlements and recent pro-Hamas rallies by Arab settlers in these Turkish-controlled regions.
Sources claim that about 3,000 Palestinian families from the Gaza Strip are targeted for relocation to Afrin. This process reportedly involves initial medical treatment in Turkey, followed by transfer to Afrin under the guise of humanitarian aid.
The basis of these allegations traces back to 2018, involving a coordinated effort by Turkey and Qatar, with support from various Palestinian, Gulf and Egyptian associations, to build model settlements in Afrin. Accordingly, this initiative aligns with Turkey’s broader strategy to modify the demographic landscape of northern Syrian regions under its control.
Among the mentioned Palestinian organisations are the Association for Dignified Living – Palestine 48 and the Association of Philanthropists’ Loyalty. These groups have reportedly been instrumental in establishing new settlements, including one named after the Umm Tuba town in the Jerusalem Governorate. The presence of a settlement in Afrin, architecturally mirroring the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, symbolically interlinks the region with Palestinian and Jerusalem narratives.