ISTANBUL, Turkey – Around half a million displaced Syrians will go to Afrin after they fled to Turkey during the Operation Olive Branch aggression against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), Turkey’s First Lady Emine Erdogan announced on Friday according to Turkish newspaper Hürriyet Daily News.
“The aim of this operation is to ensure safety in the region. When security and stability is ensured in the region with Operation Olive Branch, new flows will be stopped and those who are already here [in Turkey] are expected to be able to go back to their country,” the wife of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a conference in Istanbul.
“We face a moral issue in Syria, not a political one. People have been losing their homes, their family members and their health for seven years in Syria. International institutions, non-governmental organisations and states need to come together around alarming problems,” Erdogan said.
“Turkey has been hosting nearly four million Syrian refugees for several years. The government, NGOs and people are all doing their best to improve the situation for these people. There is no other country demonstrating this level of unified effort for refugees anywhere in the world,” she added.
“After Operation Olive Branch, nearly 500,000 people are expected to return to Afrin,” she noted.
One of the most alarming elements to this statement however is that the majority of refugees from Syria in Turkey are Arabs, however, Afrin has historically been a Kurdish-majority region, suggesting that Turkey is engaging in a mass demographic change in Afrin.