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Erdogan renews call for ‘safe zone’ support as Syrians return

Turkey says that Syrian refugees are moving to an area under its control in northeast Syria, two months after capturing the strip of territory from Syrian Kurdish fighters.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives for the Global Refugee Forum at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, December 17, 2019, REUTERS/Denis Balibouse     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC2YWD9NZS0O

ISTANBUL — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his call to the international community Dec. 17 to support his plan to resettle at least 1 million refugees in an area Turkey captured from Syrian Kurdish fighters, saying returns are already underway while lamenting the lack of interest from wealthier countries in his project.

Turkish officials say Syrians are returning to the area east of the Euphrates River after Turkey launched a military operation in October against a Kurdish Syrian militia, the People’s Protection Units (YPG). Turkey saw Kurdish control of territory near its border as a security risk because of the YPG’s links with Kurdish militants who have waged a three-decade insurgency inside Turkey.

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