We pass from the Karkamış Border Gate, surrounded by high walls and barbed wire, and set foot in Jarablus, which has been liberated from Daesh thanks to Operation Euphrates Shield that kicked off one month after the atrocious coup attempt in Turkey last year, defying the hearsay that the Turkish army had suffered a decline. We are asked to wait in the customs office until our armored vehicles are ready.
Meanwhile, I approach the special operation forces that are on duty at the customs office. The first thing to catch my eye is the shoulder tags on their uniforms stating their blood types. I ask them about the most touching moments they have experienced here. One of them mentions an elderly Syrian woman who uttered that Turkey is their only hope. Another one says that it is the Syrian children who run toward them as soon as they see the Turkish flag.
We firstly visit the Jarablus People's Assembly, meeting the assembly chair and a member who is very competent in Turkish. Subsequently, we see a restored school and a children's playground built next to it. Then we head to a hospital reconstituted by Turkey. At the entrance of the hospital, I step toward two Syrian women, Fatma and Suat, who are glancing at us with wondering eyes.
After expressing their gratitude for Turkey, the ladies said that they are actually from Idlib, asking, "When will Turkey liberate Idlib? Our houses and neighbors, if anyone left, are there." Upon that, I think about the slanderous remarks about Turkey with regard to Idlib uttered by Brett McGurk, U.S. special envoy for the coalition against Daesh, and smile bitterly.
After visiting an orphanage hosting 300 children, we pass through the vibrant market place of the town. All the shops are open. The radiant dresses showcased in store windows are imprinted on my mind as a sign indicating that the daily life in Jarablus has been normalized.
When I saw that around 40,000 refugees returned to their homes within three months, a 25,000 square-meter area was purged from Daesh thanks to the opponents backed by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) without any collateral damage, and the towns were rebuilt in six months, I compare Jarablus to Mosul and Raqqa, which have turned into bloodbaths. It makes me think that Turkey is deliberately subjected to smear campaigns since it provides the best example of how to conquer Daesh.
First of all, intensive efforts were exerted for the removal of debris in Jarablus. The slogans written by Daesh on the walls to increase their psychological pressure were erased. The roads were restructured with 305 tons of asphalt. While cleansing the disruptive memories of the war, afforestation works were conducted in a 2,500 square-meter land and two playgrounds were built.
Containers distributing 30,000 loafs of bread a day were set up. Infrastructural works were conducted to enable access to clean water and electricity. Syrian citizens were employed as part of some of these works, which contributed to the reinvigoration of the region's economy.
Subsequently, primary schools and high schools were restored and the Sahra Hospital was established. With innumerable services like these, Syrians were provided with an opportunity to maintain their lives in their homeland without being affected by the war taking place just beside them.
The exemplary state in Jarablus could not have been established in any other Syrian city. More journalists need to bear witness to the reality of Jarablus by giving up rhapsodizing about the communist totalitarianism of the PKK affiliate People's Protection Units (YPG).