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Turkish aid groups building some 10,000 houses for displaced Syrians near Idlib: report

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Turkish aid groups have begun building more than 10,000 houses in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib to shelter growing numbers of people displaced by fighting, while Turkey seeks to prevent a new influx of migrants fleeing Syria, Reuters reported.

The houses are being erected near a Syrian village next to the Turkish border, an area so far spared from the air strikes and fighting that have uprooted hundreds of thousands of people.

Syrian and Russian forces have bombarded rebel-controlled targets in Idlib this week despite a deal between Turkey and Russia, which back opposing sides in the conflict, for a Jan. 12 ceasefire. On Thursday Russia said hundreds of Syrian militants launched attacks on Syrian government forces in Idlib.

Turkey already hosts more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees and fears that the fighting in Idlib — the last notable rebel stronghold in Syria after almost nine years of conflict — could drive millions more across the border.

But last week Ankara suggested it could reach a deal with Moscow to prevent another refugee wave.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said the two countries were discussing the establishment of a secure zone in Idlib to host the displaced Syrians over the winter.

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