Syrian refugees are fleeing for their lives and turning to Turkey to help, but Turkey has claimed that it has reached capacity for accepting any more refugees.
While as many as 35,000 refugees from Syria are placing intense pressure on Turkey’s border near the province of Kilis, the governor of Kilis, Suleyman Tapsiz, said the border gates would only be opened in the case of an “extraordinary crisis.”
Turkey will continue to provide aid to those in Syria, according to the Southern Illinoisan. Despite thousands of Syrian refugees being held on the other side of the border gates, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus claims that Syria is still taking in refugees while simultaneously giving aid to those refugees who are stuck behind the gates in Syria.
“At the moment, we are admitting some, and are trying to keep others there (in Syria) by providing them with every kind of humanitarian support,” Kurtulmus said. “We are not in a position to tell them not to come. If we do, we would be abandoning them to their deaths.”
Kurtulmus knows all eyes are on the region right now, but he also claims Turkey has taken in as many as 2.5 million refugees already, and cannot take anymore. Having the choice to either watch the Syrians die in the bombings, Kurtulmus said Turkey will either “watch the massacre like the rest of the world, or we will open our borders.”
According to the Associated Press, European Union (EU) foreign ministers and their Turkish counterpart, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, pressured Turkey to take in “Syrians in need for international protection.”
On Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that his country has declared an “open border policy for these people fleeing from the aggression of the (Syrian) regime as well as airstrikes of Russia,” but did not say why the borders have been closed for three days while thousands of refugees amass at the border.
Now, troops are congregating at Aleppo, where Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces, backed by Russian jets dropping bombs, will be surrounding the militia there. Many refugees have fled Aleppo, fearing starvation, bombings, and other horrible fates that others in Syria have already suffered.
In the meantime, there are still many people living in Aleppo while a heated battle likely comes their way.
Refugees who fled to escape the war cannot find room in camps set up along the Turkey border, so many are sleeping under trees or out in the open. Aid groups are constantly working to ensure the refugees have at least the basics to survive.
Some refugees have found refuge with the YPG, or the Kurdish militia, in the north of Aleppo.
Dr. Ahmad Abdelaziz, of the Syrian American Medical Society, a humanitarian organization, worries about the old and the children refugees in the weather conditions near the border.
“There are so many old people and children in the cold weather… They are surrounded by ISIS from the east, the regime from the south, and Kurdish forces from the west,” Abdelaziz said.
Abdelaziz says it is very hard to get medicine to the refugees at the border, but at the same time, Aleppo is increasingly being cut off from the rest of the country. He says there are only four surgeons for the entire city, and he expects more people to try to flee and become refugees as shortages of items start to become more serious.
Pope Francis recently made a public plea for nations to try negotiations again and to be compassionate to the Syrian refugees by giving the refugees much needed aid.
[Image via AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis]