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Turkey fears new wave of 'up to 600,000 Syrian refugees'

The newly built camp in Syria near the Turkish border Credit: Turkish government

The fierce fighting in Aleppo could see a wave of 600,000 Syrian refugees fleeing to the border of Turkey, the country's deputy prime minister has warned.

Numan Kurtulmus said: "The worst-case scenario that could happen in this region in the short term would be a new influx of 600,000 refugees at the Turkish frontier."

Tens of thousands of Syrians are currently camped along the border.


Merkel blames Russian bomb attacks for Syria border rush

German chancellor Angela Merkel has joined Turkey in condemning Russian bombing attacks for forcing thousands of Syrians to rush to the Turkish border.

The newly built camp by Turkey on the Syrian side of border where thousands of refugees remain stranded. Credit: Turkish government

Around 30,000 people are being held in camps on the Syrian side of the border after fleeing the city of Aleppo to escape bombardment from Russian-backed government forces.

Children and their families were held in the temporary tents awaiting clearance into Turkey in temperatures that have dropped to nearly 0C. Credit: Turkish government

Ms Merkel, who is partly in Ankara to put pressure on Turkey to admit the refugees, said: "We are now, over the last few days, not only appalled but also shocked by the human suffering of tens of thousands of people through bombing attacks, and also bombing attacks originating from the Russian side."

Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Russia's air assault should not be tolerated with an acceptance that Turkey will continue to accept the fleeing refugees.

Speaking at the joint news conference, Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey will admit the refugees "when necessary" on a day when his administration sent trucks carrying more tents over the border to reinforce the temporary camps.

Turkey drive tents over border as refugees remain held

A Turkish convoy carrying tents has crossed the border to reinforce camps on the Syrian side where thousands of refugees remain held.

ITV New Middle East Editor Lutfi Abu Aun tweeted images of trucks reaching the border gates at Bab al-Salameh.

The Turkish government is continuing to resist pressure from the EU to admit more refugees with between 30-40,000 Syrians held just over its border.

People sit on the pavement as they wait at Turkey's Oncupinar border crossing. Credit: Reuters
A 15-year old injured Syrian boy was allowed entry into Turkey for treatment, along with his father, at the Oncupinar crossing. Credit: Reuters

Merkel flies in as pressure rises on Turkey over refugees

Turkey has been urged to let in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees trapped at its border in freezing conditions after fleeing fighting and bombing in the city of Aleppo.

The German chancellor Angela Merkel is due in Ankara today for talks with the Turkish government on Syria and the refugee crisis.

Turkey has admitted more than 2.5 million people fleeing the fighting in Syria but is holding the latest refugees in a camp at the border.

ITV News Middle East Correspondent Geraint Vincent said he has seen fighting over food supplies and thousands sleeping out in the open in freezing conditions during a visit to the camps on the Syrian side of the Turkish border.

But despite witnessing what he described as a "desperate situation" he said it is possible to have "some sympathy" for the Turkish government's position.


Syrian president's mother has died aged 86

President Bashar al-Assad and his mother Anissa Makhlouf al-Assad Credit: Facebook

The mother of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has died at the age of 86, state media reported.

The former first lady, Anissa Makhlouf al-Assad, died in a hospital in the capital Damascus, the official SANA news agency reported.

The agency did not give a cause of death, but she has reportedly been in bad health for a number of years.

She was born in Latakia in 1930 and Anissa married Hafez al-Assad in 1957 and they had five children.

EU urges Turkey to take in Syrian refugees on its border

Ms Mogherini said EU support to Turkey was intended to be used on refugees Credit: Reuters

The EU has urged Turkey to open the border to ten thousands of displaced Syrians fleeing from war.

Federica Mogherini, the EU's representative for foreign affairs, said that Turkey had both a moral and legal duty to help genuine asylum seekers.

She added that support provided for Turkey was intended to ensure that the state could give sanctuary to hoist and care for refugees, in comments after a press conference in the Netherlands on Saturday.

It is unquestionable that people coming from inside Syria are Syrians in need of international protection.

– Federica Mogherini

Turkey has said it is caring for some 35,000 refugees massed at its borders, but it has not as yet allowed them to enter.

Today Ms Mogherini said the issue of migrants showed that Europe needed to find “common solutions” or state will find they “don’t find solutions at all.”

Tens of thousands 'still on their way' to Turkey-Syria border

A Syrian woman carries her belongings on her head at a refugee camp near the Bab al-Al Salam crossing. Credit: Reuters

Around 35,000 Syrian refugees have arrived at the Turkish border near Kilis in the last 48 hours, a Turkish official has said amid warnings that tens of thousands more people may still be on their way to the frontier between the two countries.

Kilis governor Suleyman Tapsiz said the recent arrivals were being provided with food and blankets while accommodated in camps at the Syrian side of the border, adding that another 70,000 could be expected if Russian airstrikes and advances by the Syrian regime continued.

He told reporters that while the border was not closed, "at the moment there is no need to host such people inside our borders".

Speaking at around the same time, Turkey's foreign minister said the border between his country and Syria was still open, claiming that people needed to flee because Russian airstrikes were hitting "schools, hospitals and civilians".

He added that a further 55,000 people could be expected to arrive at the border in the coming days.

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