23,000 flee Syria to Turkey in 2 weeks: UN
Source: Press TV
The UN refugee agency says some 23,000 people have fled Syria to Turkey in less than two weeks as Syrian Kurdish forces are engaged in fighting against Takfiri ISIL terrorists inside Syria on the border with Turkey.
A spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Tuesday that the people fled to Turkey between June 3 and 15.
“This is according to the figures we received from Turkish authorities this morning,” UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said.
He added that “most of the new arrivals are Syrians” fleeing fighting in the border town of Tal Abyad, but they also include nearly 2,200 Iraqis “from the cities of Mosul, Ramadi and Fallujah.”
“Most refugees are exhausted and tired and arrive carrying just a few belongings. Some have walked for days,” Spindler said.
The recent influx of refugees comes as Kurdish forces are locked in fierce fighting with the ISIL terrorists near Tal Abyad and some other areas bordering Turkey. On Monday, Syrian Kurds were reported to have almost fully retaken Tal Abyad from the ISIL militants.
Last Wednesday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Ankara “will not accept entries onto its territory from Syria except in case of a humanitarian tragedy.”
He also strongly criticized the European Union (EU) countries for having welcomed only a handful of refugees from Syria.
A recent UN report says over three million Syrians have left their country since the beginning of the foreign-sponsored crisis March 2011.
Turkey, along with Western states and some Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf region, has been a major backer of the extremist militant groups currently fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
Assad meets UN envoy
Also on Tuesday, the UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, held talks with President Assad and other senior Syrian officials in the capital, Damascus, in a bid to find a political solution to the ongoing crisis in the Arab country.
Syria’s official SANA news agency said that President al-Assad and de Mistura have “agreed … to find a successful political solution in Syria and to return security and stability throughout Syria.”
The agency also said that de Mistura briefed Assad “on the results of his consultations in Geneva with Syrians who represent various sides of Syrian society.”
They also discussed the deaths of dozens of civilians in a recent militant rocket attack on the Syrian government-controlled parts of the city of Aleppo on Monday.
The Syrian president said that the world’s “silence about the crimes committed by terrorists will encourage them to continue their terrorism.”
“The whole world must wake up to the danger that this terrorism poses to security and stability, and it must take a clear and firm position against those who fund and arm and facilitate movement for terrorists,” SANA quoted President Assad as saying.
De Mistura has repeatedly emphasized that President Assad must be involved in any peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis.