Syrians mass on Turkish border as regime advances

Tens of thousands of civilians are reported to have joined the exodus after fierce fighting by advancing regime forces who severed the opposition's main supply route into Syria's second city

Syrians mass on Turkish border as regime advances

World Bulletin / News Desk

Thousands of Syrians were stuck on the Turkish border Friday after fleeing a major regime offensive backed by Russia near Aleppo where a new humanitarian disaster appeared to be unfolding.

Tens of thousands of civilians are reported to have joined the exodus after fierce fighting by advancing regime forces who severed the opposition's main supply route into Syria's second city.

Western nations have accused the Syrian regime of sabotaging peace talks with its military offensive, and Washington has demanded Moscow halt its campaign in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

The UN Security Council was due to meet later Friday to discuss the faltering peace process, as NATO head Jens Stoltenberg warned Russian air strikes were "undermining the efforts to find a political solution".

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitor that relies on a network of sources on the ground, estimates that 40,000 people have fled the regime offensive near Aleppo.

"Thousands of people, mainly families with women and children, are waiting to enter Turkey," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

Aleppo province is one of the main strongholds of Syria's armed opposition, which is facing possibly its worst moment since the beginning of the war in 2011.

"The regime is beginning to reap the rewards of the Russian campaign and its advance in Aleppo is all the more important because it suffered setback after setback in the past two years," Abdel Rahman said.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday that up to 70,000 people were heading to his country, with 10,000 already waiting at the border.

His country already hosts about 2.5 million Syrian refugees.

The Turkish border crossing of Oncupinar near Kilis, which faces the Syrian frontier post of Bab al-Salama north of Aleppo, was closed on Friday morning, and there was no sign of any refugee outflow.

Footage released Thursday by activists showed hundreds of people, including many children, heading towards the Turkish border, some carrying their belongings in plastic bags on their backs. 

"We were driven from our homes because of Russia, Iran, Bashar and (Lebanese armed group) Hezbollah," a child said in the video. "We ask (Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan to let us into his territory."

Last Mod: 05 Şubat 2016, 13:53
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