In December 2019, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan officially announced a plan for the settlement of Sunni refugees and temporarily resettled Syrians in the northern regions of Syria as a result of military operations Olive Branch, Euphrates Shield and Peace Spring conducted against Kurdish armed groups.
Under Ankara's plan, over one million Syrians – mostly families of fighters from loyal armed opposition groups, as well as refugees who have found shelter in the Turkish territory – will be the first to get settled in the 30-kilometer-deep border strip with Turkey. Subsequently, it is likewise planned to see the backs of other Syrian citizens in Turkey.
The first several-hundred-strong wave of settlers was sent in October 2019 from the city of Jarabulus to the frontier settlement of Tel Abyad, controlled by the Turkish troops and Syrian opposition groups loyal to them.
The second batch numbering 140 families was transferred by the Turks to the Tel Abyad area from the southern Şanlıurfa province on April 9. All of them are close relatives of militants from the so-called 1st Brigade of the Syrian National Army (SNA), created in 2018 under the auspices of the Turkish General Staff.
According to local observers, those families received permission to settle in the area in exchange for sending their men to Libya to engage as mercenaries on the side of Fayez al-Sarraj's government.
Further settlement by refugees (mostly militants' relatives) is planned in the border strip between Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ayn. Further on, the development of the north will be brought to a depth of about 30 kilometers.
According to Ankara's repeated statements, there are more than 3 million Syrian refugees concentrated in the territory of Turkey who will be eventually returned to their homeland. In fact, as the UN recognizes, thousands of Syrians have been able to leave the country legally and otherwise since 2011 to settle in the Middle East, Western Europe, the United States, Canada and South America.
According to raw data alone, the three Turkish military operations in northern Syria forced over one million Syrian Kurds to leave their traditional places of residence, of which about 400 000 found temporary shelter in Iraqi Kurdistan. The rest fled to the territory east of the Euphrates (the provinces of Raqqa, al-Hasakah and Deir ez-Zor), controlled by US-loyal armed groups of the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces.
Turkey condemns the anti-Palestinian settlement policy of Israel which also justifies its actions by national security interests. However, activities carried out by the Turkish leadership are virtually no different from the Israelis and cause no condemnation on the part of international organizations.
Facing undisguised pressure from the United States, the UN leadership ignores this problem and, guided by Washington's recommendations, initiates the scapegoating of Damascus (the use of chemical weapons, destruction of hospitals, schools etc.) in order to maintain the existing sanctions against Syria and introduce some new ones.
It is profitable for Western Europe to take off the issue of Syrian refugees in Turkey from the table by any means, in order to insure Erdogan from an open border and mass underdog flight to European countries.
The "fraternal" states of the Middle East are mired in internal contradictions, divided in their reaction to Turkey's policy in Syria and already indifferent to Russia's engagement in Syria's affairs (with someone even welcoming it).
At the same time, we must understand that the Syrian Kurds will never manage to come to terms with the forcible resettlement policy of the Turkish leadership, which is hostile to them. There is no doubt that they will be supported by their kindred Kurdish military and political organizations in Iraq. And in Turkey itself, the fight against the current authorities may become more active over time. The reason for this will be the weakening influence of Erdogan's supporters, whose largely adventurous foreign policy is fraught with dangerous upheavals within the Turkish society.