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Jan 18 2019

Assad to prioritise Russian firms in rebuilding Syria

Syrian President Bashar Assad is committed to his decision to prioritise Russian firms in rebuilding Syria, Sputnik Turkish quoted Dmitriy Sablin, the head of the Russia-Syria parliamentary friendship group, as saying on Thursday.

“Syrians are aware that a conclusive victory against terrorism is possible only by a functioning economy,” Sablin told reporters after a meeting with Assad, Sputnik said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in an article published in the Russian daily Kommersant on Tuesday that Turkey and Russia should work together to rebuild Syria.

Erdoğan also said on Tuesday that Ankara would establish what he called a safe zone in northern Syria, following a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump.

The apparent agreement between two leaders came after Turkey threatened to launch a large-scale operation against the U.S.-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northeastern Syria

Ankara sees the YPG as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has been fighting inside Turkey for more than 30 years, while the YPG forms the backbone of U.S.-led coalition forces fighting against Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria.

Ankara plans a Turkish-controlled 460-km (285 miles) wide and 32-km (20 miles) deep buffer zone in northern Syria. Speaking to his parliamentary party on Tuesday, Erdoğan said Turkey’s Housing Development Administration could rebuild the region with the financial support of coalition forces. 

“My plan was like that. Two-storey, a basement plus one houses with 500 square metre gardens can be built there,” Erdoğan said.