Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (File photo)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (File photo)

Turkey can't 'bear burden' of new wave of Syrian refugees: Erdogan

ANI | Updated: Dec 23, 2019 14:18 IST

Ankara [Turkey], Dec 23 (ANI): Turkey cannot handle a fresh wave of migrants from Syria and "will not bear the burden all alone," said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday, while warning Europe that it would also feel the impact as tens of thousands of refugees have started their journey towards the Turkish border.
More than 3.6 million refugees are estimated to have sought safety in Turkey since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011, the largest refugee population in the world, CNN reported.
Around 80,000 refugees escaping violence in opposition-held Idlib in northwestern Syria, were heading to the Turkish border, Erdogan said at a news conference in Istanbul on Sunday, according to state news agency Anadolu.
"In such a case, Turkey will not bear all alone the burden of this migration," the president said.
"If violence against the people of Idlib does not end, this number will rise further. The effect would be felt by all European countries, especially Greece," Erdogan warned.
More than a million Syrians fleeing the fighting have amassed near the Turkish border, according to Anadolu.
In October, Erdogan threatened to "open the doors" and allow the Syrian refugees currently sheltering in Turkey to enter the rest of Europe if he did not receive more assistance from the European Union.
Attempts by the United Nations Security Council to approve further aid deliveries from Turkey and Iraq to Syrian civilians were blocked by Russia and China last week.
Turkey and Russia agreed last year to designate Idlib province as a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are prohibited. But in recent weeks, the Syrian government, and its Russian backers, have intensified artillery and airstrikes in the region.
Syria has said in the past that it is targeting terrorists in the Idlib area.
Idlib is one of the last areas held by the Syrian opposition after almost eight years of clashes with the regime led by President Bashar Al-Assad.
Hundreds of Idlib residents marched in protest against the new bombing campaign on Friday, shouting anti-Syrian government and anti-Russian slogans. At least 50 civilians have been killed in just five days by the bombing campaign, according to the White Helmets rescue group. (ANI)