World Bulletin / News Desk
The Turkey-led Operation Euphrates Shield, which began late August, aims to improve security, support coalition forces and eliminate the extremist threat along the Turkish border through Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters backed by Turkish artillery and jets.
Approximately 1,900 square meters, including the city of Jarabulus -- a critical province in northwestern Syria close to the Turkish border -- was cleared from ISIL militants after the operation started.
Since the civil war started in Syria in 2011, Jarabulus was controlled by not only ISIL but also by the PKK/PYD from time to time. The city was under ISIL control when the Turkey-led operations liberated it by using howitzers and other air equipment.
The number of residents to whom the Turkish government provides humanitarian aid increased from 3,500 to approximately 35,000 after the liberation.
Before the civil war, the population of the city was around 30,000.
Drinking water and electricity of the province was provided by Turkey’s southeastern Gaziantep governor's and mayor’s offices soon after the liberation.
Schools in Jarabulus, rebuilt by the Turkish government, also started to operate after a 3-year break due to the war.
Hospitals, health and emergency centers were also opened with the help of the Turkish government in the province.
Shopping centers, restaurants, bakeries and even jewelry shops are currently serving Syrians in Jarabulus.
“Our business is doing well,” Muslum Ali, owner of a jewelry shop in Jarabulus who started his business three months ago, said. “It’s good enough for us to be in our nation.”
President of the Jarabulus Assembly, Muhammed Habesh, said that migrations to Jarabulus since last August had continued from other neighboring cities.
Habesh said commercial activities were getting revived in the city, thanks to the Operation Euphrates Shield.
“Our priority is security. People here can live freely right now, they can go out to the streets whenever they want,” he said. “It happened thanks to the contributions of Turkey and the Turkish soldiers for sure.”
After the liberation of Jarabulus, the Turkey-supported Free Syrian Army (FSA) continued its operations in the area by hitting 883 targets with 965 bombs and destroying 2,392 improvised explosives and 42 mines.
The town of Al-Rai in northern Syrian city of Aleppo was liberated as well. The FSA forces are currently trying to liberate Al-Bab, which is a strategic city for ISIL.
Since the operations there began at the end of November, more than 2,700 targets were hit and 391 ISIL militants were neutralized.
In addition, 26 PKK/PYD extremists were also killed during the operations in Al-Bab. Bomb squads also destroyed 400 improvised explosives as well as four bomb vehicles and three mines.
The PKK/PYD/YPG groups have been designated as extremist organizations by Turkey. The U.S. and the EU consider only the PKK as a extremist organization, and consider the PYD/YPG as a "reliable partner" on the ground, which is source of tension between Ankara and Washington.
The operations in Al-Bab were inflicting heavy blows to ISIL through air-and-land operations in northern Syria.
Senior ISIL leaders have also been neutralized. Abu Ansari, a senior ISIL leader, was reportedly killed during an air operation on Monday. Another senior leader Abu Hossein Tunusi was neutralized in an air operation last week, where 17 ISIL targets were hit, 12 facilities were destroyed and 23 ISIL militants were also neutralized.
A total of 1,294 ISIL militants, including 1,171 killed, were neutralized since the beginning of Operation Euphrates Shield.
Several shelters, command-and-control facilities, weapons and vehicles of the extremist group were also rendered useless in the operation, according to the Turkish army.
As part of the anti-extrem operations inside Turkey in December, 260 were detained and 59 arrested for links to ISIL, according to data from the Turkish Interior Ministry.
In Turkey's southeastern Sanliurfa province, police prevented ISIL's planned bomb attack in downtown and the extremist group's plans to assassinate two FSA members.
Meanwhile, Turkey also continued to hit the extremist PKK/PYD group operating in northern Syria. Since the Operation Euphrates Shield was launched, 306 PKK/PYD extremists were neutralized, including 291 killed and four injured.