World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkey has begun handing out food and other humanitarian aid to Syrians right on their common border as the worsening conflict in Syria makes aid distribution there increasingly difficult, Turkey's disaster and emergency body said on Saturday.
The move coincides with a sharp increase in the number of Syrians fleeing the fighting in the 17-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, taking the total in Turkey to nearly 70,000 and challenging its ability to cope.
The humanitarian situation in Syria has deteriorated as fighting escalates, cutting off civilians from food supplies, health care and other assistance, aid agencies say.
"The distribution of humanitarian aid by our country right on the border with Syria has begun," Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) said in a statement.
Turkey has told the United Nations of the new practice and has opened a centre in its southeastern town of Gaziantep to receive international aid, AFAD said, adding that it needed dried, tinned and baby food, bedding and personal hygiene items.
The Turkish Red Crescent has also set up sites at four places on the border with Syria to receive local donations.
More than 170,000 Syrians have been registered in neighbouring countries - Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey - according to the U.N. refugee agency.
Some 1.2 million people are uprooted within Syria, many staying in schools or other public buildings, according to the U.N. regional humanitarian relief coordinator.
There has been a diarrhoea outbreak among residents of Rural Damascus province because the water supply has been contaminated by sewage, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
The number of Syrians in Turkey has risen sharply from 44,000 at the end of July, and Ankara is concerned there may be a flood of refugees from the major northern city of Aleppo as the conflict there intensifies.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Friday welcomed the United Nations' appointment of Lakhdar Brahimi as the new international mediator on Syria but said he would need consensus in the U.N. Security Council if his mission was to succeed.
Turkey is setting up four new refugee camps to cope with the influx: two in Gaziantep, one in Kahramanmaras and one in Osmaniye. It already has eight tent cities - five in Hatay, two in Sanliurfa and one in Gaziantep - and a camp of prefabricated housing for 12,000 people in Kilis province.
Setting up the new camps would bring the cost of caring for the refugees to around 300 million Turkish lira ($167 million), AFAD said.
Von der Leyen expresses regret for cancellation of German lawmakers' visit to Turkish base
Istanbul police were searching for 51 FETÖ suspects charged with financially supporting the extreme group
- Turkish forces kill 3 PKK extremists in Hakkari province, military says
Governorship says seven people were slightly injured after assailant shot at coaches in Turkish capital
A crackdown on those linked to Erdogan has seen the arrest of 28 people in a number of cities across the country
The Turkish military has bombed positions of PKK terrorist group in Iraq's Hakurk region and Turkey's southeastern provinces
Turkish president and the leader of Palestinian group talk about resolving disagreements between Palestinians
“European countries remain incapable of solving ongoing problems. That's why Turkey should be a member of the union,” Turkey's EU minister says
PKK terrorists have attacked Turkish troops in southeastern Hakkari and Mardin provinces
The 16th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals in Ankara has ruled that the proceedings against former President, Military Officer Kenan Evren and Tahsin Sahinkaya, a Turkish Air Force Commander, were to be dropped due to the defendants' death and that their defence, while alive, was invalid.
Pascale Moreau says UN 'appreciates' Ankara's work with refugees but calls for political solutions to the crisis
Turkey may ask the public whether it should continue its EU bid if accession talks do not move forward, says foreign minister.
Four suspects, including a mayor, in southeastern Turkey face life imprisonment for reportedly allowing PKK extremists use state-owned machines in attacks.
Turkish Foreign Ministry describes reports of phosphorus bombs and incendiary cluster munitions as 'extremely worrying'
PKK extremist have been killed following an exchange of fire with Turkish gendarme forces in Elazig province
Turkey is blocking plans by a senior German delegation to visit the Incirlik air base, German officials have said.