World Bulletin / News Desk
Thousands of Syrian refugees are stuck on the Turkish border while the authorities struggle to process a growing influx that could be swelled further by Syrian air and ground bombardment of a nearby town.
Syrian opposition activists said some 10,000 refugees had been stranded for a week on the Syrian side of the frontier adjacent to the southeastern Turkish province of Kilis, the main route into Turkey from the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.
A Syrian jet bombed the town of Azaz, 3 km (2 miles) from the border, early on Monday, prompting some of those who had not already fled to pack their bags, a Reuters witness said.
Azaz is notionally rebel-held but often comes under artillery fire at night from a nearby military airport. Half the population of around 70,000 has already fled, residents say.
"We haven't stopped taking the Syrians but we are doing this more slowly due to security concerns ... Some people are entering Turkey then going back and coming back again," an official from Turkey's AFAD disaster agency told Reuters.
"We are trying to distribute aid to those on the other side of the border. On Saturday their numbers were around 7,000-8,000," he said, asking not to be named.
Turkey already hosts more than 80,000 Syrians who have fled the 17-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad and the U.N. refugee agency says the figure could reach 200,000.
Ankara fears a mass influx similar to the flight of half a million Iraqi Kurds into Turkey after the 1991 Gulf War.
No international assistance
Syrian opposition activists say bottlenecks at the Turkish border are discouraging people under fire from Assad's forces in Aleppo and elsewhere from fleeing, leaving them in grave danger.
Turkey has repeatedly complained it is not receiving international assistance for the refugees and has pushed for the creation of a foreign-protected "safe zone" inside Syria to try to help civilians on the other side of the border.
The plan met with little enthusiasm from world powers at a U.N. Security Council meeting on Thursday.
Ankara will promote the idea again at the U.N. General Assembly this month but opposition from veto-wielding Russia and China means there is little chance of securing a Security Council mandate for such action, which would require no-fly zones patrolled by foreign aircraft to be credible.
In China, the People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, said on Monday the Turkish proposal would not help resolve Syria's humanitarian crisis.
The head of the Turkish Red Crescent, Ahmet Lutfi Akar, last week endorsed the buffer zone idea and said the agency would in any case push more assistance to the Syrian side of the border.
"We are distributing aid through four transfer points at the moment. We can set up camps there or we can provide these services in their own homes. These options are being discussed," he told Turkish television during a visit to refugee camps in Turkey's Hatay province on Friday.
Thursday’s dailies cover the clashes between ISIL and the pro-Kurdish Democratic Union party in Kobani and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks at the opening of the country’s new legislative year.
Turkey will speed up the process of nuclear power plant construction, said Turkish energy minister following talks with Russian energy officials.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu compared the Syrian regime to the ISIL.
"If this massacre attempt achieves its goal it will end the process," said Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Turkey had warned Kurdish and Syrian fighters to unite against ISIL, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.
The advanceof ISIL insurgents to within sight of the Turkish army on the Syrian border has piled pressure on Ankara to play a greater role in the U.S.-led coalition.
"Immediately subsequent to the 2015 elections, all parties in the parliament should free themselves from prejudice and come together to write a new constitution based on reconciliation," Erdogan said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said "We will fight effectively against both ISIL and all other terrorist organizations within the region; this will always be our priority."
Concerns Kiev could stop gas flow to Turkey and construction of nuclear plant on agenda for Taner Yildiz.
Turkish government's motion for military action against ISIL is extensively covered by Turkish dailies on Wednesday.
The Syrian Kurdish People’s Defence Units (PYD), a strong affiliate of the Kurdish separatist PKK terrorist organization, asked for weapons from Turley to fight the ISIL.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker called on Turkey to 'lift barriers' for American investment in the country.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said a special 'solution process council' will guide government's efforts to solve the Kurdish issue.
The newly-submitted motion, seeking parliamentary mandate for military action, cites the rising threats on southern borders as a motive.
A Turkish warship was harrassed in international waters, while a Turkish training aircraft was tracked in international air space.
Turkey's energy minister says the strength of the dollar has made next month's price hike inevitable. But Turkish consumers currently pay lowest prices for gas among EU countries.