One million could flee to Turkey in Aleppo exodus

More than 250,000 civilians are living under a Syrian regime siege in the opposition-held eastern Aleppo.

Photo by: AP (Archive)
Photo by: AP (Archive)

Turkey already hosts 2.7 million Syrian refugees.

If there is an exodus from the Syrian city of Aleppo, at least one million people could flee to Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.

The opposition-held eastern Aleppo is currently besieged by the Syrian regime. Aleppo province shares a border with Turkey’s southern Gaziantep and Kilis provinces.

"God forbid, if an exodus starts in Aleppo at least one million people will come to Turkey. I am sorry but we cannot pay the price for this,” Erdogan said in a meeting with local administrators.  

“Those who are triggering this on purpose must sit at the table with Turkey to discuss this," he continued.

His comments came a day after he spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the situation in Aleppo in a phone call.

The two leaders discussed an agreement on removing Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, an Al Qaeda breakaway group formerly known as the Nusra Front, from Aleppo and achieving peace for the people in the city.

More than 250,000 civilians are living under a regime siege in East Aleppo. (Reuters)

On Monday, Russia announced an eight-hour pause in attacks on the city for Thursday to allow civilians and opposition forces to leave the city.

The pause was extended by three hours on Wednesday.

The pause in strikes on Aleppo will be in force on Thursday, from 0800 (0500 GMT) until 1900.

In September, Russia and the United States pushed the regime and the opposition to abide by a ceasefire in Aleppo, but it proved short-lived.

Syrian regime forces and their Russian allies have since stepped up air strikes to take full control the city. At least 448 people including 82 children have been killed in recent air strikes on the city.

TRTWorld and agencies