Facing new refugee wave from Syria, Ankara sends delegation to Moscow

Syrian regime troops backed by the Russian air force launched a new offensive into the opposition-held Idlib province last week, sending thousands of residents fleeing toward the Turkish border.

Responding to the latest developments in the 8.5-year-old Syrian war, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country, which currently hosts 3.7 million Syrian refugees, could not handle a fresh wave of migrants on its own.

Speaking at an awards ceremony Sunday, the Turkish leader said an estimated 80,000 people were currently moving toward the Turkish border in the Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, where about three million people have taken shelter from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in the ongoing conflict.

“If the violence toward the people of Idlib does not stop, this number will increase even more,” Erdogan said. “In that case, Turkey will not carry such a migrant burden on its own.”

He added such inflows of new refugees could recreate unsustainable pressure on humanitarian aid groups that led to the 2015 EU migration crisis. “The negative impact of the pressure we will be subjected to will be something that all European nations, especially Greece, will also feel,” Erdogan said.

On Monday, Turkey’s Humanitarian Relief Foundation reported 120,000 civilians were moving toward the Turkish border.

Read the full story on Al Monitor.