Ankara plans to build a new town near Syrian city of al-Bab in six months.
[ Editor’s Note: This is quite a move by Turkey, which must have a lot of spare cash around to build a city for 80,000 so fast, to move Syrian refugees back to. To announce something like this without consulting the host country — many might consider this a violation of Erdogan’s pledge when joining the tripartite group that he would respect Syria’s territorial integrity.
He is probably counting on the unfortunate refugees to jump at the chance to have a new place in a new town, near one that used to be a Kurdish town. If Erdogan wants housing for refugees, he can build it in Aleppo where it would be welcome.
It is clearly a population substitution plan, which I suspect the UN would have some problems with. But we will have to wait and see what Russia, Iran and Syria have to say about it.
I would find it hard to believe that this did not come up for discussion at the big generals’ pow-wow in Ankara. It is poor form to have a major meeting like this and then spring a big city building announcement in someone else’s country. That said, could this be a response to the US and Russia, with Syria putting up the iron wall on Erdogan’s plans to go to Raqqa.
As it is, it looks like Erdogan might not be needed. The Kurds are steadily closing in and encircling the city, with an announcement that the Deir-Ezzor road is completely blocked to come at any moment. With Marine artillery and more US Special Forces to help back up the Kurds, they will be ready to assault the city. I did PressTV’s The Debate Show today on this, on with Jim Jatras for the first time, on all the layers of intrigue in play with Syria now.
We hear of no plans for providing for the civilians — a huge task, with Raqqa being so far from most supplies. Future voters will remember a botched aid program. In Aleppo, we saw the UN aid slow to a trickle when the Syrian coalition freed the city from the terrorists. Western media did not seem too interested in getting interviews on who the Aleppo people hated the most, Assad or the jihadis.
As the jihadis continue to lose ground, the opposition will have less time to stall the political talks, as they will have less leverage as time goes by. Damascus’ star will rise as the Syrian Army recaptures more of the territory, where it will also be earning future votes when the next election comes. The people will not be fooled as to who did what… Jim W. Dean ]
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– First published … March 9, 2017 –
The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) plans to build a new town to the north of al-Bab city in the Syrian province of Aleppo in order to accommodate 80,000 people, the Enab al-Baladi information website reported, citing an engineer, working for the project, Othman Sultan. Reportedly, the plan has already been criticized by experts, according to whom it has “suspicious demographic and political objectives.”
According to Sultan, the new town will be located in Nadhah region to the north of al-Bab city. The engineer noted that there will be two districts in the town, the first of which will consist of 400 buildings, stretching over a 2 km area, while the second one will be filled with 311 four-story buildings.
He also added that there will be four schools in the first district of the town, while the second area will have three schools. According to Sultan, every district will also have a grand mosque, two prayers rooms and a hospital.
A journalist with close links to the Turkish government, Hamza Tekin, confirmed the Sultan’s words and added that the town’s construction process will take about six months. However, according to building experts, the project will need at least three years to be completed, especially considering the fact that it will be located in the combat operational zone.
According to political analyst Seyed Mostafa Khoshcheshm, Ankara is going to arrange a ‘construction show’ in the region in order to justify its mid-term presence there for humanitarian reasons, as well as to build the town in order to achieve its long-term goals.
“If accomplish, Turkey will certainly try to relocate a large number of Arab refugees to al-Bab, as it will help them get rid of a portion of its Syrian refugees, whose concentration on Syrian soil would then become a burden for the international community.
Secondly, Turkey would change the population structure of al-Bab in favor of Arabs to push Kurdish population further to the east.
And the last but not the least, it could start its safe zone’s plan that has recently received US President Donald Trump’s approval, all through this single move,” the Fars news agency quoted the words of the political analyst.
Khoshcheshm noted that it is unlikely that Russia, Syria and Iran will agree with the Turkish plan, unless they receive the needed guarantees, considering strong opposition of the Syrian government to the plan of Turkey and the US on establish the so-called safe zones, which “envisages a belt in northern Syria to accommodate refugees, whose security, according to the plan, should be provided by militant groups.”
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