Turkish governor says 1,700 Syrian Turkmens in Turkey

Turkish governor of Hatay says that 1,700 Syrian Turkmens have entered Turkey following intense on ground clashes with forces of Bashar al Assad backed by Russian air strikes

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

the governor of Hatay province Ercan Topaca arrived in Yayladagi district near Syrian border to closely follow the developments regarding Syrian Turkmens who had fleed from Bayir-bucak region due to clashes.

Updated Nov 23, 2015

The governor of the southern Turkish province of Hatay, Ercan Topaca, stated that authorities on the Syrian-Turkish border have taken measures to help the Syrian Turkmens who were forced to flee their homes on Saturday following intense on ground clashes with Bashar al Assad's forces which are receiving air cover from Russian fighter jets.

"As of today, almost 1,700 Turkmen brothers are within Turkish borders. We have taken measures to satisfy their needs as the weather is getting colder," Topaca said in a statement.

"Five hundred and fifty seven tents, 4,200 blankets, medical equipment, 20,000 canned goods, 2,000 ready-made food kits were sent today. Tomorrow we will provide hot meals as well," he added.

The governor also stated that the governorate is trying to calculate the exact number of people entering Turkey, but the number is continually increasing as at least 14 Turkmen villages have been witnessing heavy Russian air strikes and an on ground the offensive by pro-Assad forces.

"Seventeen injured people have arrived as of yesterday [Friday]," Topaca added.

Turkmens are part of a Turkic ethnic group based largely in Iraq and neighboring Syria. The Turkmen community, which includes both Sunni and Shia Muslims, shares cultural ties with the Turkish people.

The president of the Syrian Turkmen council, Abdurrahman Mustafa, has said that "Kizildag is a very critical location and if it is lost, all Turkmen villages in eastern regions will be under threat."

Mustafa added that "for now 200 Turkmen families arrived in Yayladagi and we are sending supplementary tents for them."

He emphasised that they will fight against the Assad regime and Russia untill the very end, adding that Syrian opposition groups - backed by Turkish and US air support - were able to take back control of two Turkmen villages - Harcele and Delha - in northern Syria on Saturday, which may be the first positive step towards creating a DAESH-free zone in northern Syria.


The Turkish Prime Ministry announced on Saturday that Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu spoke to his US counterpart John Kerry late on Friday in a phone call concerning the assaults on the Turkmen villages in Syria's Bayir-Bucak region, in the country's northwestern Latakia Province.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a statement regarding the recent attack on the Syrian Turkmens that "This attack shows how barbaric the Syrian regime is, this is an attack targeting civilians, we know Russian warplanes participated in this attack."

Davutoglu warned that "If any attack is mounted against civilians on Turkey's border, such as with cluster munition shelling, so as to draw the people living there towards Turkey and lead to a further refugee flow, all involved will be held responsible."

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgic stated that Turkey has repeatedly warned Russian Federation Deputy Foreign Minister and President Vladimir Putin's Special Representative for the Middle East, Mikhail Bogdanov, about targeting Turkmens in Syria.

Syrian activist Dr. Mohamed Haj Bakry stated that "Assad forces with the help of the Russian warplanes, have been targeting civilians with the purpose of diminishing the strength of the opposition."



TRTWorld and agencies