Turkey: 200 Syrians returned to area cleared of Kurd militia

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s defence ministry said Thursday that around 200 Syrians had returned to their homes after its offensive against Kurdish militants last month, with another 300 on the way. 

“Close to 200 of our Syrian brothers who had fled the (Kurdish militant) PKK/YPG… have voluntarily and safely returned to their homes and lands,” the defence ministry said in a statement. 

Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring in October, aimed at pushing Kurdish militants out of a wide area east of the Euphrates river and creating a zone to which refugees could return. 

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The defence ministry said the families had taken refuge in Jarablus, a Syrian town to the west of the Euphrates that was brought under Turkish control during an operation in 2016.

“It is expected that with the reestablishment of peace and security in the Peace Spring operation area, the returns will continue,” the ministry said. 

“Within that framework, 70 families consisting of 295 people have taken the road from Jarablus to return to the Tal Abyad area.”

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