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35,000 people settled in Afrin region amid ethnic repopulation claims

Features | 2018-05-24 06:42:00
35,000 people settled in Afrin region amid ethnic repopulation claims
(Zaman Al Wasl)- Around 35,000 of those bussed out of the onetime rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus have resettled in Afrin region by Turkey as the original residents, mostly Kurds, see return as a distant dream.

A Turkish-led assault this year displaced over 137,000 people from Kurdish-majority Afrin to nearby regime zones, or even farther to Kurdish areas in the northeast, according to AFP.

"I'm not optimistic. The more time passes, the more entrenched the demographic changes are," says Ahmad Yussef, an academic who fled Afrin.

Kurdish authorities accuse Turkey of ethnic repopulation, and observers say Ankara wants to resettle the 3.5 million Syrian refugees in its territory into Afrin.

Mohammed al-Ghoutani, 30, who fled eastern Ghouta told Zaman al-Wasl that lack of services in the camp of Deir Ballout near the Turkish border pushed him to leave with his family to the village of Musyeh near Afrin.
  
Al-Ghoutani said that the Turkish army had erected military checkpoints on the main entrances to Afrin, fearing that the PKK and YPG militia would resort to retaliation.

The Turks issued permits for crossing, its "official duties" for civilians or military personnel. Who’s allowed to travel in the area of "Afrin" and villages, so many male and female are afraid arresting as volunteers in the ranks of the units and the party.

Despite the harshness of life inside the camps in the area of Afrin and its surroundings that displaced people from Qalamoun live, they see at the same time that they remain better than those in Idlib, especially in terms of security and the decrease of aerial bombardments.

Nevertheless, Abu Ahmad, a resistance fighter and a father of three, said in an exclusive statement to Zaman al-Wasl that he arrived with his family to the area of Afrin about a month ago. However, the overcrowding of the camps and the tough life inside, they are the best option for us in our deteriorating economic situation.

He added that current residing in a rented house in "Afrin" is difficult, due to the rise in rents, which is not commensurate with the limited material conditions.

He also pointed out that there is a kind of security chaos and conflicts between the resistance factions in Afrin.

Zaman Al Wasl
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