At least 35K Syrian refugees arrive on Turkey's border

Turkish Deputy PM Yalcin Akdogan says at least 35,000 refugees have settled in camps on Syrian side of Turkey's border following latest wave of refugees

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish Deputy PM Yalcin Akdogan speaks to reporters near the border at Oncupinar in Kilis Province on Feb. 12, 2016.

Updated Mar 13, 2016

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Yalcin Akdogan, on Friday said that nearly 35,000 refugees have settled in camps on the Turkish border, inside Syria, in the latest wave of migration, as attacks by Russian-backed Syrian regime forces send tens of thousands fleeing.

"Before all, there has been no piling up at [Turkish] border. No large crowds and masses who are trying to pass our border," Akdogan stressed.

He also stated that "35,000 people [who have recently arrived at the Turkish border] have already been settled in camps in Syria [by Turkey's aid groups near the Turkish border].”

Speaking to reporters on a visit to the Oncupinar refugee camp, on the border, Akdogan said that a diplomatic initiative was necessary with Russia and Syria to prevent new waves of migration, which would also impact Europe.

The latest wave of refugees has swelled to 100,000, the number of people sheltering at nine camps located on the Syrian side of the border, within 3 km of Turkey, Akdogan said, adding that a tenth camp was being prepared.

Akdogan said it was important to create a "civilian settlement area" on the Syrian side of the border, but insisted that Turkey was maintaining its "open-door policy" towards refugees.

Turkey, which already hosts nearly 2.7 million Syrian refugees, has tried to keep the latest wave on the Syrian side of the border, in part to pressure Russia to cease its air support for Syrian regime forces near the city of Aleppo.

Earlier on Friday the United States, Russia and more than a dozen other nations reached an agreement in Munich to cease hostilities in Syria and provide humanitarian aid. The deal is aimed at eventually paving the way for political transition in Syria.

Ceasefire an 'important step'

Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, welcomed the Syrian ceasefire deal in a post on his Twitter account, saying it was an "important step" towards resolving the crisis.

However, unless Russia ends its strikes on Syrian opposition forces, the ceasefire reached in Munich will not hold and humanitarian access will not be effectively secured, Cavusoglu said in comments broadcast from Munich.

He also said that Turkey and its partners did not object to Russia targeting terrorist group DAESH and militant group the Nusra Front, but said that Moscow should do so in coordination with the US-led coalition.

TRTWorld, Reuters