Turkey fears ‘2-3 Million More Refugees’ If Aleppo Falls
Turkey fears another two to three million Syrian refugees could cross its borders if the region of Syria’s second city of Aleppo is overrun either by Islamist extremists or regime forces, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday.
Turkey is already hosting at least 1.5 million refugees displaced by the Syrian conflict and has repeatedly warned that its capacities are being strained by the numbers.
Cavusoglu said supporting the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) was the only option for the international community against what Ankara sees as the twin threat of Islamic State jihadists and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
“The main force fighting both ISIS and the Syrian regime today is the Free Syrian Army,” he said, using another term for the Islamic State group.
“But it has failed to achieve the desired outcome because it is fighting against both groups,” he told reporters in Ankara alongside his Finnish counterpart.
Cavusoglu said there was little difference between IS militants and the Assad regime.
“Both of them are killing people brutally and don’t refrain from using any kinds of weapons at their disposal. Both force people to flee their land.”
He added: “An advance on Aleppo would mean an influx of two to three million people to the Turkish border.”
He said a weakening of the moderate opposition to Assad and the FSA would “result in the advance of the unstoppable ISIS as well as the regime”.
“And this will make Syria even more unstable. Therefore, the advance of both of them should be halted.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a press conference with his Finnish counterp …
Turkey has repeatedly called for the ousting of Assad as the sole way to resolve the Syrian crisis permanently.
Turkey is pressing for a no-fly zone and a security zone to be imposed inside Syria along its 911 kilometre (566 mile) border with the country to ensure its security.