Turkey to set up camps for 170,000 people near Syria's Idlib: sources


Turkey is working to set up camps in nine locations to settle 170,000 displaced people near Syria's Idlib city and in areas Ankara controls further east in northern Syria, Turkish diplomatic sources said.

Turkey and its Syrian rebel allies hold a swathe of land in Idlib, one of the main areas in the country still in the hands of fighters seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. Hundreds of thousands of opponents of Assad from other parts of Syria have fled there.

"The Turkish Red Crescent and AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Authority) started preparations to set up camps to host 170,000 people in nine locations, including Azaz, Teleffer and Naddah," one of the diplomatic sources said.

The initiative for displaced people around Idlib, in territory Turkish forces entered last year, is separate from another offensive Turkey launched six weeks ago in Afrin, another part of northern Syria held by Kurdish fighters.

Turkey has been working to set up military observation points in rebel-held Idlib as part of a de-escalation agreement with Assad's allies Iran and Russia. Under that deal, Ankara is to set up 12 observation posts in Idlib and neighboring areas.

Though the deal largely collapsed in December when the Syrian army, along with Iran-backed militias and heavy Russian air power, launched a major offensive to take territory in Idlib province and surrounding areas, the Turkish army said it had so far established six observation posts in the region.