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Turkey Says Supports Investment in Syria’s Afrin

TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – The Turkish government announced plans to turn Syria’s Afrin region into an area similar to a free trade zone by supporting investment and offering Syrian business people financial incentives to invest in that region.

Ankara has come up with an economic plan for Syria’s northwestern region of Afrin, recently captured by Turkey in the so-called Operation Olive Branch, Yeni Safak reported.

The Turkish government has called on Syrian businessmen in Turkey to establish factories in Afrin, mainly in textile and olive cultivation industries, in order to create employment in the border region.

Afrin is planned to become like a free trade zone and Syrians residing in refugee camps inside Turkey will receive vocational training before being employed in the region.

According to the scheme, Syrian women would receive incentives to work in the textile and ready-to-wear clothing industry after passing weaving courses. Their products would be sold in the global market.

The plan also includes a series of incentives to enable the displaced Syrian people to earn a livelihood after returning to their lands, by working in olive processing facilities.

According to the report, there are approximately 8,000 Syrian business people in Turkey, whose contribution to Turkey’s economy exceeds 1.2 billion Turkish lira ($294 million).

Turkish forces swept into Afrin in March, raising their flags in the town center and declaring full control after an eight-week operation to drive out Kurdish YPG forces.

Ankara had launched Operation Olive Branch on January 20 to enter Afrin, which is predominantly populated by Kurds. Ankara says it wants to "clear" Turkey's border from the "terrorist" threat.

The operation has drawn strong condemnation from Damascus, which slams Turkey's move as a violation of the Arab country's sovereignty.

But Turkey maintains that preserving the territorial integrity of Syria is a common goal of Ankara and Damascus, and that Turkish troops would not attack Syrian government forces.