Why is Turkey so invested in rehabilitating Syrian city of al-Bab?
ALEPPO, Syria — In a bid to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees in Turkey to their homes, the Turkish government has been making considerable efforts to reconstruct and rehabilitate the destroyed Syrian areas that were liberated during Operation Euphrates Shield, a cross-border military operation launched by Turkey in partnership with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) on Aug. 24, 2016, against the Islamic State (IS) in northern Syria.
The city has been given a face-lift.
According to a statistical report by the information office of al-Bab’s local council, which Al-Monitor secured a copy of, the population of al-Bab has reached 150,000 people.
Ammar Nassar, the information office director, told Al-Monitor, “The local council aims at developing all service sectors in the city for the well-being of the citizens as well as to encourage the thousands of the city’s citizens living in Turkey to return home.” “Since its formation [in March], the local council has made major achievements: The rubble was completely removed from the city; the water and sanitation networks that were destroyed were repaired; and artesian wells were also drilled in several locations inside and in the outskirts of the city to get safe drinking water.
Since the Syrian regime forces took control of the station in Aleppo’s eastern countryside on March 7, driving IS out, the regime made sure to cut off the water line toward the FSA-held city of al-Bab, causing a major water crisis.
Meanwhile, IS had turned most of the city’s schools into military headquarters and weapons caches.
Education in the city of al-Bab is a top priority for the Turkish-backed local council; the increasing population in the city means more children need to go to school.
Ahmed Karaz, the head of the local council’s education office, told Al-Monitor, “Ten schools out of 30 have been reconstructed and rehabilitated.
The Turkish government has also provided schools with furniture, stationery as well as school bags.
The Turkish government has also renovated Al-Hikma Hospital, providing additional medical equipment so that it can continue to offer temporary services for patients until the large hospital Turkey is building on the city’s outskirts is completed.