Cavusoglu says Turkey admits 10,000 more Syrian refugees

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Turkey has admitted 10,000 more Syrian refugees arriving at border in recent influx

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meets Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto (R) in Budapest, Hungary on February 9, 2016.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaking at a joint news conference with his Hungarian counterpart during a visit to Budapest.on Tuesday said that Turkey has so far let in 10,000 of the roughly 50,000 refugees who have reached its Syrian border region Oncupinar.

Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees came to Syria's border with Turkey on Monday escaping the Syrian regime offensive in Aleppo which is backed by Russian air strikes.

Cavusoglu said the current flood of refugees to Turkey could reach 1 million people if the Russian and Syrian military campaign against the opposition continues.

Cavusoglu also noted that Turkey is admitting Syrian refugees in a "controlled fashion" as the country already hosts about 2.7 million refugees from Syria.

Meanwhile, William Spindler, spokesman of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said on Tuesday that the agency understood the concern of Turkish authorities about "possible large influxes" into the country.

Turkey has vowed to help the crowds of people, including many women and children, by providing food and other aid on the Syrian side of the border.

Aid trucks and ambulances entered Syria from Turkey on Sunday to deliver food and supplies to tens of thousands of people fleeing an escalating regime assault on Aleppo, as air strikes targeted villages on the road north to the Turkish border.

Turkish humanitarian agencies have also been setting up temporary shelters and delivering food to Syrians who have amassed at the border.

Turkey has kept an open-door policy for civilians fleeing Syria due to the conflict, but has come under pressure by Europe and the US to stem the flow and to secure the border more tightly. 

The country already shelters nearly 2.7 million Syrians, the world's largest refugee population. However, at the Oncupinar crossing in Turkey’s southern Kilis province, which has been largely shut for nearly a year, the newest arrivals were being shepherded into camps on the Syrian side.

"If those [refugees] have come to our door and they have no other choice and if needed we will let those brothers in, we have to do that," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was recently quoted as saying.

Aid officials at the Oncupinar border crossing said their efforts for now were focused on getting aid to the Syrian side of the border, where Turkish agencies have set up new shelters.

"We're extending our efforts inside Syria to supply shelter, food and medical assistance to people. We are already setting up another camp," an official from the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), which is funded by donations and carries out humanitarian work inside Turkey and abroad, told Reuters.

TRTWorld, Reuters