Turkey, Middle East

'Over 20,000' return to freed Syrian town of Jarabulus

As the Operation Euphrates Shield marks one month the original residents of Jarabulus continue to get back home

22.09.2016
'Over 20,000' return to freed Syrian town of Jarabulus

By Mehmet Guldas

GAZIANTEP, Turkey

More than 20,000 Syrians have returned to Jarabulus near the Turkish border, weeks after the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) liberated the northern Syrian town in Aleppo province, a regional official said.

During the month-long Operation Euphrates Shield, some 1,200 square kilometers (745 miles) of northern Syria had been cleared of terrorist elements in the region. Approximately 900 Daesh targets were hit 4,000 times following the takeover of Jarabulus, the source added.

As a result of the operation, the population of Jarabulus had now swelled to 25,000 from 3,500, according to a local councilor in the Syrian town.  Hundreds of families were going back home from Azaz in Aleppo’s northern countryside and Manbij, the official, who spoke on condition on anonymity due to safety concerns, said.

Syrian opposition forces recently took control of Tal-ar district of Cobanbey town in northwestern Aleppo province, which had been occupied by Daesh militants.

Operation Euphrates Shield began last month and saw Free Syrian Army fighters, backed by the Turkish military, take control of Jarabulus from Daesh.

Turkey has said the operation aims to bolster border security, supporting coalition forces and eliminating the threat posed by terror organizations, especially Daesh. The operation is in line with the country’s right to self-defense borne out of international treaties and a mandate given to Turkey’s armed forces by its parliament in 2014, which was extended for another year in September 2015.

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