New residential complex in Afrin raises concerns about demographic shift

The new compound comprises 400 residential units for housing families from eastern Ghouta, Homs and Hama.
Turkey has built residential villages in northern Syria (Photo: SOHR)
Turkey has built residential villages in northern Syria (Photo: SOHR)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Turkish company of the real estate development and architecture started construction of a new residential compound, with financial support by the Turkish government, near the Kafr Safra village in Jindires district in Afrin, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reports.

The new compound comprises 400 residential units for families from eastern Ghouta, Homs and Hama. 

It is worth emphasizing that while these families are being provided with housing, the native inhabitants from Afrin are still displaced and living in camps. In March 2018, Afrin was taken over from Kurdish forces by Turkish forces and their allied armed groups.

According to the SOHR, this construction project is part of a larger initiative aimed at altering the demographic composition of the areas currently under the control of Turkish forces and the Syrian National Army (SNA).

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during the election campaign in May, that he won, said he plans to repatriate a million Syrian refugees. 

"We built briquette houses in northern Syria. We did this not only as a state, but together with non-governmental organizations,” Erdogan said, according to a report by the Anadolu News Agency.

"Moreover, with the support of Qatar, the work to build houses in Syria, which can accommodate 1 million refugees, continues.” 

In July, the Al-Nasr Charitable Village, constructed by Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS), in cooperation with the Turkish Red Crescent, provided shelter for 80 displaced Syrian families in Al-Jamel, Jarabulus.

Moreover, the Qatar Red Crescent Society said another residential project was also created in Akhtarin, A’zaz District.

Read More: Ahrar al-Sharqiyah builts residential complex in Afrin: SOHR

His statements have raised fears among the Kurdish population of Afrin of demographic changes. 

The demography of the Kurdish majority region has already been significantly changed by displaced Syrians fleeing the Syrian government offenses and rule from areas like Ghouta.

Read More: Erdogan says Afrin is majority Arab, threatens Arabization

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2020 claimed that over half the population of the Afrin region in northern Syria was Arab and that the Kurds there were from elsewhere.

Palestinian foundations have also been accused of building housing units for displaced Syrians in Afrin.