Turkey Sets Up New Refugee Camps in Syria

Turkey Sets Up New Refugee Camps in Syria Turkey Sets Up New Refugee Camps in Syria

Turkish aid workers have been setting up tents and distributing supplies for thousands of new Syrian refugees kept from entering Turkey at the border.

Some 35,000 people fled Aleppo area last week, trying to enter Turkey’s Kilis border region. But Turkey has so far closed the border to most of them despite appeals by European Union leaders to let them cross, BBC reported.

The country already shelters more than 2.5 million refugees from Syria’s war.

Many Syrians have gone on to seek asylum in the EU and made up the largest group among more than one million refugees and other migrants who entered illegally last year, mainly by sea from Turkey.

Turkey is trying a balancing act between providing sanctuary to those fleeing Syria’s war and reducing the numbers of refugees travelling to Europe.

You hear it in Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus’s words: “Turkey has reached its capacity to absorb refugees, but we will still take them in.”

It is a confused situation and the 35,000 stopped from crossing into Turkey are feeling the effect. Heavily injured people are coming across, those we spoke to saying Turkey must open the border.

The EU is also giving mixed messages, calling one day for Turkey to allow in those fleeing persecution but the next voicing frustration that Turkey is not doing enough to stem the refugee flow to Europe. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel will be in Ankara on Monday to talk it through. It could be a messy discussion. Aid officials at the Oncupinar border crossing told Reuters their efforts for now were focused on getting aid to the camps on the Syrian side of the border.

“We’re extending our efforts inside Syria to supply shelter, food and medical assistance to people,” an unnamed official from the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation said.