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UN urges Ankara to let in Syrians stranded at Turkey border

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)
Syrian families line up waiting to go back to Syria at the Cilvegozu crossing gate in Hatay, Turkey, February 8, 2016. ©AFP

The United Nations refugee agency has called on Turkey to open its borders to thousands of Syrian refugees who have massed along its frontiers as a result of ongoing militancy in their home country.

Turkey has let in some vulnerable people and the wounded, but many more are not being allowed in, William Spindler, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said on Tuesday.

"We are asking Turkey to open its border to all civilians from Syria who are fleeing danger and seeking international protection," Spindler said.

According to reports, Turkey, which is already home to 2.5 million Syrian refugees, has largely kept its gates closed in recent days amid the latest influx of Syrian fleeing war in their homeland. 

Huge crowds have been forced to wait at Turkey's Oncupinar border crossing, with only medical emergencies allowed through.

Syrians line up as they wait to cross into Syria at the Oncupinar border crossing in Kilis, Turkey, February 8, 2016. ©Reuters

However, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a visit to the Hungarian capital city of Budapest on Tuesday that Ankara is admitting Syrian asylum seekers in a "controlled fashion" and has so far let in 10,000 of the approximately 50,000 people who have reached there recently.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also noted that Turkey has not shut its borders to refugees although it has not let in the new wave of arrivals.

He once again accused Russia of targeting civilians in Syria, a claim repeatedly rejected by Moscow.

Russia launched its campaign against Daesh and other terrorist groups in Syria last September upon a request from the Damascus government. The air raids have expedited the advances of Syrian forces against militants.

Turkey has been among the main supporters of the militant groups operating in Syria, with reports saying that Ankara actively trains and arms the Takfiri terrorists there and facilitates their safe passage into the conflict-ridden Arab country.

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.

The crisis in Syria, which began in March 2011, has claimed the lives of more than 260,000 people and displaced almost half of the country’s population.


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