Turkey’s Erdogan warns of flooding Europe with Syrian refugees
October 11, 2019 - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to send the 3.6 million Syrian refugees in his country to Europe if the continent’s leaders call Turkey’s military campaign in north-eastern Syria an “occupation”.
On Wednesday, Turkey sent its military into northern Syria after announcing plans to create a buffer zone which pushes back Kurdish militants and potentially allows some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees settled in the country to return. The offensive was launched after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of American forces in northern Syria, a decision that has been fiercely criticised around the world and within his Republican Party.
Opponents of Turkey's offensive into northern Syria argue that the assault is purely aimed at driving out Kurdish fighters and U.S. lawmakers have warned of potential sanctions.
According to the United Nations refugee agency, there are 3.6 million Syrians registered in Turkey – a number that has risen steadily throughout the war – as well as more than 350,000 refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. Most are protected under Turkish law banning the forced return to a dangerous country.
The proposed security strip, 32km deep, would span across most of Syria’s multi-ethnic northern border areas and rival administrations created by nearly nine years of civil war.
- Turkey’s refugee plan met with widespread skepticism (AP)
- Turkey’s Erdogan threatens to send Syrian refugees to Europe (Reuters)
- Turkey’s plan to settle refugees in northeast Syria alarms allies (Reuters)
- UNICEF Turkey Humanitarian Situation Report (ReliefWeb)
- Syria regional refugee response (UNHCR)