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Turkey to open border to Syrians ‘if necessary’: Erdogan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This photo shows a temporary refugee camp for displaced Syrians in Azaz region, Syria, February 4, 2016. ©AP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced the country’s readiness to let in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees who have massed along its border “if necessary.”

He made the comments on Saturday while returning from Senegal in reaction to the gathering of a huge number of Syrians, mostly women and children, who have left their homes in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo toward the Turkish border since Friday.

“If they reached our door and have no other choice, if necessary, we have to and will let our brothers in," he said.

The governor of the Turkish Kilis border province, Suleyman Tapsiz, said Saturday that the country has been providing aid to between 30,000 and 35,000 refugees who have assembled around the nearby Syrian city of Azaz over 48 hours.

Another 70,000 might head for the frontier, he said, adding that authorities would only open the gates if an “extraordinary crisis” erupts.

Also on Sunday, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said although the country has reached the end of its capacity to absorb refugees, it would go on letting Syrians in.

This is while Turkey’s Oncupinar border crossing, opposite Bab al-Salama in Syria, is still closed to thousands of refugees gathered there for a third day and Kurtulmus did not provide any explanation for the move.

Turkey is said to be home to a total of 3 million refugees, including almost 2.5 million Syrians.

Ankara has been among the main supporters of the militant groups operating in Syria.

Turkey has also been accused on numerous occasions of being involved in illegal oil trade with Daesh. Russia has recently released pictures and videos purportedly showing the movement of oil tankers from Daesh-controlled areas in Syria toward Turkey.


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