Turkey warns of dire refugee crisis if Aleppo falls
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warns of a massive flow of refugees into Turkey if Syria's second largest city falls into regime hands

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has warned Turkey may face yet another major refugee crisis if Syria's second-largest city Aleppo falls to the President Bashar al-Assad’s regime

The premier spoke with the media after a briefing at the Office of the Turkish General Staff late Tuesday.

"That was the reason why we have been demanding for a safe haven in Syria," Davutoglu said.

Ankara has been pushing for a "safe haven” for refugees inside Syria near the Turkish border as well as the establishment of a no-fly zone with the international community, including the UN.

Davutoglu said Turkey was following the developments in Aleppo with great concern. He said the city was "under intense repression, if not on the brink of falling already."

An estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees, including some 190,000 from Syria's border town Kobani, have sought shelter in camps across Turkey after fleeing the relentless fighting in the country.

The premier argued that it was the Syrian regime itself that spawned the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or the ISIL threat. "In return, the conjuncture created by ISIL paved the way for Assad to mount pressure on Aleppo," he added.

He described Aleppo as the symbolic city of the "noble resistance” of the Syrian people for the last three-and-a-half years.

Davutoglu maintained the Assad regime had recently intensified its offensives on major cities, including Hama and Idlib "by exploiting the world’s eyes which is concentrated only on the ISIL threat in Iraq and Kobani."

"The Assad regime laid siege in Aleppo areas controlled by the Free Syrian Army, but no news appeared about it in the international media," he said.

He also criticized the airstrikes conducted by the international anti-ISIL coalition led by the U.S. in Syria for not targeting the Assad regime.

Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius made a similar call Tuesday to intervene in Aleppo, and help the opposition forces fighting against both the Syrian regime and the ISIL.

"The coalition must now save Syria's second city Aleppo, which represents a political alternative, the only one likely to preserve the prospect of an open, pluralistic, democratic Syria," he was quoted in a column published in the French daily, Le Figaro.

Last Modified: 2014-11-05 09:07:14
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