World Bulletin / News Desk
The peace of mind has returned in the region after ISIL terrorist organization was removed from Turkey's southeastern border, the mayor of Gaziantep province said.
Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield, which began in late August in 2016 and ended in March 2017, eliminated terrorists along the Syrian border.
"The removal of terrorist organizations, like ISIL, has normalized psychological well-being in our province and region," said Fatma Sahin, speaking to Anadolu Agency.
Sahin said the operation in northern Syria was "important" to eliminate the security gap in the region.
She added a security corridor was established following the operation and Syrian refugees returned home, starting with Jarabulus city in Aleppo.
"Following this, a safe and peaceful atmosphere was established in the region. The security corridor transformed into a peaceful corridor," Sahin said.
Since the civil war erupted in Syria in 2011, Jarabulus had been controlled by ISIL and intermittently by the PKK/PYD terrorist group.
Nearly 75,000 Syrians in Turkey have returned to their homes after Operation Euphrates Shield.
"With their return to the region [liberated during] Euphrates Shield, many problems and burdens emanating from refugees reduced," Sahin said.
Some 3.5 million Syrian refugees live in Turkey, more than any country in the world, and Turkey has spent some $30 billion to help the refugees.
Gaziantep is currently hosting more than 300,000 Syrians and is involved in EU projects which facilitate the refugees.
Sahin said Operation Euphrates Shield validates the need for Operation Olive Branch.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK-ISIL terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
Sahin said nearly one million people will return to their country if the ongoing operation will be successful, just like Operation Euphrates Shield.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the Afrin operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military also said only terror targets are being destroyed and that "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming civilians.
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