ALEPPO, Syria — Construction has begun under Turkey's auspices in northern Syria of First Industrial City, an economic development project in the Aleppo countryside, in an area swept by the Turkish-led Operation Euphrates Shield. Ground was broken and a cornerstone laid Feb. 10 a few miles northwest of the city of al-Bab. Those on hand for the ceremony included Shonoul Asmar and Genghis Ayhan, assistants to Ali Yerlikaya, the Gaziantep governor whose administration will help supervise the project, as well as the head of al-Bab's local council, Jamal Osman, and a number of other dignitaries and public figures from the area.
Following al-Bab's liberation by Free Syrian Army and Turkish forces from the Islamic State on Feb. 23, 2017, the city has emerged as a commercial hub. First Industrial City is expected to boost the local economy and provide job opportunities for thousands of young people. It could potentially also help achieve stability in the rebuilding area, to Turkey's relief. The cost of the project has not been publicly announced.