'Many Syrians have returned home since Turkish ops'

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More than 318,000 Syrians have returned home since Turkey completed counter-terror operations in northern Syria, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said Thursday.

Some "318,500 Syrians have returned home, as there is peace in Syria now," said Soylu, addressing a crowd in Istanbul.

Soylu said Turkey sent doctors, nurses, engineers, security officers and soldiers to Syria and built schools there.

He recalled that Turkey neutralized 3,333 terrorists in two years of cross-border and nationwide counter-terrorism operations.

Since 2016, Turkey's Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, including Al-Bab, Afrin and Azaz, making it possible for Syrians who fled the violence there to return home.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed or displaced in the conflict, mainly by regime airstrikes targeting opposition-held areas.

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