Won’t leave Syrian refugees to die: Turkey

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 Feb 2016 13:47:21

A refugee child carries belongings at the Turkish border crossing gate on Sunday in Bab-Al Salam, near the city of Azaz. (AFP)


ONCUPINAR (Turkey), Feb 8 (AFP)

TURKEY said on Sunday it would not abandon thousands of Syrians stranded on its border after fleeing a major Russian-backed regime offensive, as aid agencies warned of a “desperate” situation. Tens of thousands of people, including many women and children, have been uprooted as pro-Government forces backed by intense Russian anti-rebel air strikes advance near Syria’s second city Aleppo.
“Turkey has reached the limit of its capacity to absorb the refugees,” Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told CNN
Turk television. “But in the end, these people have nowhere else to go. Either they will die beneath the bombings... Or we will open our borders.”
“We are not in a position to tell them not to come. If we do, we would be abandoning them to their deaths.”
Turkey’s Oncupinar border crossing, which faces the Bab al-Salama frontier post inside Syria, remained closed on Sunday to thousands of refugees gathered there for a third day, an AFP reporter said. They waited desperately for the moment the gate will open, as Turkish aid trucks delivered food inside Syria. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey was ready to open its gates to Syrian refugees “if necessary”. Carrying what few belongings they still have, Syrians queued in the cold and rain in squalid camps near the border, waiting for tents being distributed by aid agencies.