Türkiye is creating infrastructure across the border to facilitate the voluntary return of Syrians to their homeland, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Thursday, as he highlighted the importance of creating a safe atmosphere in cooperation with different actors, TurkicWorld reports citing Daily Sabah.
"We built briquette houses in northern Syria. We did this as a state and with non-governmental organizations," Erdoğan told a gathering in Istanbul.
"Moreover, with the support of Qatar, the work to build houses in Syria, which can accommodate 1 million refugees, continues. Yesterday, Interior Minister (Süleyman Soylu) launched the groundbreaking ceremony," the president said.
He added: "We have created and are building the infrastructure for the voluntary return of Syrians in Türkiye (to their country)."
The president said these efforts should have a "humane, conscientious and Islamic" aspect, stressing that Türkiye cannot send back Syrians "by using force."
Soylu on Wednesday attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the "Voluntary, Safe, Honorable Return Project" in the northern Syrian district of Jarablus, where he said a total of 240,000 houses would be constructed at nine separate locations across the Idlib and Afrin regions over the next three years.
Turkish officials said the process of an organized return not just to the border area but across Syria has already been launched in discussions with Damascus. Russia and Iran have also been party to the Syrian crisis by militarily backing Assad but have been working to help ease the thaw between Ankara and the Assad regime in recent years.
Some 554,000 Syrians have returned from Türkiye to the region, now improved with new schools, hospitals, organized industrial sites and better infrastructure.
More than 6 million Syrians now live in nearly 107,000 briquette homes erected in Afrin, and Türkiye is working hand in hand to normalize daily life in the region, Soylu said.
More than 3.7 million Syrians reside in Türkiye, making it the world's top refugee-hosting country.
Following the start of a civil war in Syria in 2011, Türkiye adopted an "open-door" policy for Syrians fleeing persecution and brutality.
Syria has been embroiled in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Bashar Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, including half of them internally, according to U.N. estimates.