Construction has begun under Turkish AKP government's auspices in northern Syria of First Industrial City, in an area swept by the Turkish-led Operation Euphrates Shield. The ground was broken and a cornerstone laid Feb. 10 a few miles northwest of the city of al-Bab, Al-Monitor reported.
Al-Bab captured by Free Syrian Army (FSA) terrorist group and Turkish forces in 2017. The cost of the project has not been publicly announced.
Mahmood al-Najjar, director of the media office for al-Bab’s local council, told Al-Monitor, "The industrial city will be the largest industrial complex in the Euphrates Shield area and will extend over 56 hectares [138 acres]. It will include a variety of services including a water network, a sewage treatment unit, traffic police, hotels, gas stations, a power station and a road network connecting the industrial city to most of the cities and villages of the Euphrates Shield area."
According to Al-Monitor, in the first stage, the public will be able to buy shares from around 400 industrial facilities to be assigned sites. They will include engineering, manufacturing, food and textiles, among other enterprises. The Turkish government will open a highway between the cities of al-Bab and al-Rai, near the Syrian-Turkish border. The road will play a major role in sustaining the industrial city, which will be connected to the al-Rai commercial crossing. Raw materials will flow in through the crossing and manufactured materials will flow out as exports to the Turkish market.
Jumaa Mansour, an architect supervising operations, told Al-Monitor, "The [infrastructure] project will be implemented over the course of six months, and local construction companies employing Syrians from the Euphrates Shield area will be in charge of the construction process. The city will stretch over an area of 56 hectares, 16 hectares [40 acres] of which will be allocated for the construction of roads, services and facilities."
Mansour said the industrial city is expected to attract Turkish investors, and several Turkish industrialists have already inquired about properties, enticed by an opportunity to invest in an area under Turkish influence and with abundant cheap labour. No taxes have yet been imposed on investors willing to set up factories.
Majed Saleh, another supervising architect, told Al-Monitor, "The project is sponsored by Turkey and carried out in cooperation with al-Bab's local council and a large group of industrialists and traders from al-Bab and the wider Euphrates Shield area. More than 30% of the overall industrial properties have been sold since the announcement of the project on Feb. 10. … Each square meter [11 square feet] is priced at $10, and each property can spread over up to 1,100 square meters. In other words, an industrial property is priced at a maximum of $11,000, and owners can easily establish factories there given that the industrial city will provide water, electricity and sanitation services."