Friday, March 5th | 21 Adar 5781

December 19, 2019 10:16 am

Erdogan Says 50,000 Syrians Fleeing Idlib to Turkey

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses supporters at a rally. Photo: Reuters / Umit Bektas.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that 50,000 people were fleeing Syria’s northwestern region of Idlib to Turkey, and slammed Muslim nations for not supporting his plans to resettle refugees in other parts of north Syria.

Turkey currently hosts some 3.7 million Syrian refugees, the largest refugee population in the world, and fears another influx from the Idlib region, where up to 3 million Syrians live in the last significant insurgent-held swathe of territory.

Syrian and Russian forces carry out regular air strikes against targets in Idlib, which President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to recapture, pushing more people toward the Turkish border.

“Look, 50,000 people are once again coming from Idlib to our lands,” Erdogan told a meeting of Muslim leaders in Malaysia. “We already have 4 million people, and now another 50,000 are coming and this may increase.”

Related coverage

March 5, 2021 10:50 am

Pope Francis Embarks on Risky, Historic Iraq Tour

Pope Francis embarked on Friday on the first ever papal visit to Iraq, his riskiest trip since his election in...

He gave no details and did not say whether the Syrians had actually crossed into Turkey, which has built a wall along its 911-kilometer (570-mile) southern border since the outbreak of Syria’s eight-year conflict.

Erdogan is seeking international support for plans to settle 1 million Syrians in part of northeast Syria which Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies seized from the Kurdish YPG militia in a cross-border incursion in October.

Ankara has received little public backing for its plans and Erdogan said that world powers, including Muslim nations, were more concerned about sending arms to Syria than supporting a Turkish “safe zone.”

“Is the Muslim world that poor? Why don’t they support this?” he said. “Even if they just gave their alms, there would no poverty here, no have-nots,” he said.

“They provide no support when we call on them to form a safe zone, but when it comes to weapons, the arms come,” he said.

In its third offensive into northern Syria in three years, Turkey seized a 120-kilometer (75-mile) stretch of border territory two months ago from the YPG, which had spearheaded the fight against Islamic State in Syria with US support.

Washington’s backing for the YPG has infuriated Turkey, which considers it a terrorist group because of its links to Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters who have waged an insurgency in southeast Turkey in which thousands of people have been killed.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.