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Turkey helps rebuild the liberated Syrian border town of Jarabulus

France 24 screen capture

A year after it was liberated from Islamic State group control, the Syrian town of Jarabulus is rebuilding — thanks in large part to help from Turkey.

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The rebuilding of Jarabulus has begun. Apartment buildings are springing up, infrastructure is being restored, and Ankara’s influence is apparent everywhere. Even the fire engines are labelled, “Presents from Turkey to the brother people of Syria.”

Weeks after Turkish forces liberated the town in August 2016, Turkey started sending electricity to the Jarabulus district. Now, the emergency hospital that the army set up has been replaced with a permanent structure, paid for by the Turkish government. There, patients are greeted by portraits of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, hailed here as a hero.

“He has done more things for Syria than anyone else. What have the Arab countries done for us? Nothing,” said Jarabulus resident Cuma Muslim.

Children have returned to school but the curriculum has changed. Traditionally, French was taught in the schools in Jarabulus. Now students learn Turkish.

“There are no more French lessons in Jarabulus, unlike the rest of Syria. Turkey is a friendly country, so it makes sense that the children learn this language,” said Turkish language teacher Abdurahman Hajali.

The mayor of Jarabulus, himself of Turkish descent, appreciates the help. “I hope the Turks never leave. At the very least, I hope they stay a bit longer. Otherwise, everything will get complicated.”

The Turkish post office has opened a branch in Jarabulus. There are no services yet, but the cash machine is up and running.

Before the IS group took over, Jarabulus was home to a population of roughly 30,000. The population has halved in the last three years, but many have returned since the town’s liberation.

Click on the video player above to watch the full FRANCE 24 report.

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