Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this weekend threatened to let thousands of refugees cross into Europe and warned Damascus would “pay a price” after dozens of Turkish troops were killed inside Syria.
Around 13,000 refugees have gathered along the Turkish-Greek border, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said as several thousand migrants were in skirmishes with Greek police firing chemical tear gas across the frontier.
The escalating tensions between Turkey and Russia, who suddenly back opposing forces in the Syria conflict, after an air strike killed the Turkish troops sparked fears of a broader war and a new migration crisis for Europe.
However, the migrants going to Europe are not the ones fleeing from Idlib, Syria. Those are Turkmen tribes that earlier tried to confiscate and occupy more land in Syria.
Erdogan said he would let refugees travel to Europe from NATO-member Turkey, because the European Union should keep its promises and pay money to cover the refugee costs of the NATO proxy war in Syria.
Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said nearly 50,000 migrants had left Turkey for Europe via the western province of Edirne, bordering Greece, in comments published in the official Anadolu news agency.
But the IOM said its staff had observed “at least 13,000 people gathered along the 212 km (130-mile) long border. Thousands of migrants, including families with young children, are passing a cold night along the border between Turkey and Greece.
In 2015, Greece became the main EU entry point for one million migrants, most of them refugees fleeing the bloody and extremely deadly Syrian War.
The Greek coast guard said that from early Friday to early Saturday migrants reached the islands of Lesbos and Samos, crossing the eastern Aegean from the Turkish coast.
The UN says nearly a million people, half of them children, have been displaced by the fighting in northwest Syria since December, forced to flee in the bitter cold winter time.
The Britain-based Observatory for Human Rights said the Turkish NATO strikes targeted positions of the Syrian forces in the Idlib and Aleppo countryside.
French President Emmanuel Macron called on Russia and Turkey to establish a “lasting ceasefire” in the Idlib region, after separate phone calls with the two countries’ leaders, a statement from his office said.
Seeking support from Europe after the Idlib casualties, Erdogan told Macron that Ankara wanted to see “clear and concrete support” from NATO “not only in words but in deeds”, according to the Turkish presidency.
Erdogan also warned the humanitarian crisis would “deepen unless the regime’s attacks are stopped in Syria.”
Yahoo / ABC Flash Point News 2020.