World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria liberated the region of YPG/PKK and ISIL terrorists, making return of Syrian civilians to homeland possible.
70 Syrians -- most of them women and children -- were repatriated to their areas from Turkey’s southern Kilis province under the voluntary return program.
They traveled to Syria on minibuses after undergoing security checks at the Oncupinar border crossing.
Ayse Hayyani, a Syrian woman returning to home, said that she came to Turkey along with her family four years ago.
“Our living places were liberated from terror thanks to Turkish soldiers. That is why I want to return to my homeland,” Hayyani said.
Zeliha Abbas, another Syrian woman, said she decided to return to her country since her home town is now safe to live in.
Abbas came to Turkey seven years ago, leaving her husband and some of her children behind.
According to customs gate officials, nearly 60,000 Syrians have crossed into their hometown using Turkey’s Oncupinar Border Gate since Jan. 1, 2015 as part of the voluntary return program.
Held from August 2016 to late March 2017, Turkey conducted Operation Euphrates Shield, a military campaign aimed at clearing ISIL terrorists from the Turkish-Syrian border region.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear terrorist groups from Afrin amid growing threats from the region.
On March 18, Turkish-backed troops liberated the town center of Afrin. The forces are still carrying out security sweeps for mines, improvised explosive devices, and terrorist hideouts.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating civil war that began in 2011. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict and millions more displaced, according to the UN.
Turkey currently hosts nearly 3.5 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world.