Syria – Conflict – Turkey – Jarablus

Syrians Return to Jarablus from Turkey after ISIS Ousted: AFP

Syrians Return to Jarablus from Turkey after ISIS Ousted: AFP
Wed Sep 7, 2016 18:11:18

Hundreds of civilians on Wednesday began returning to the border town of Jarabulus in northern Syria, two weeks after pro-Ankara fighters recaptured it from Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL / IS) terrorists.

Loaded with luggage and domestic items, the residents headed for the frontier and queued for customs inspection at the border gate outside the Turkish town of Karkamis, an AFP photographer said.

Held by ISIS since 2013, Jarablus was on August 24 easily retaken by pro-Ankara fighters supported by Turkish tanks and aviation on the first day of the over two-week Turkish incursion into Syria.

Turkish state media have subsequently broadcast footage repeatedly of life returning to normal inside Jarablus following the departure of ISIS, showing shops re-opening and children playing in the streets.

The photographer said some 250 residents, including children, who had fled ISIS rule in Jarablus for Turkey in the last months were returning back to their home Wednesday in a first wave of resettlement.

Turkish forces and the Ankara-backed rebels are pressing on with the operation inside Syria, which is also targeting a Kurdish militia Ankara regards as a terror group.

However it remains unclear how prepared Turkey and its allies are to press deep inside Syria to prise from ISIS the town of Al-Bab further to the south or even the terrorists’ de-facto capital of Raqqa.

Turkey is home to some 2.7 million refugees from the conflict in Syria but only around 10 percent live in refugee camps, with the rest living in towns and cities across the country, mainly in the southeast.

Ankara has said it is happy to host the refugees but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly mooted creating a safe zone inside Syria to house them, possibly in a brand new city.

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