‘No longer in position to hold them’: Turkey says it can’t contain Europe-bound Syrian refugees amid Idlib flare-up

'No longer in position to hold them': Turkey says it can’t contain Europe-bound Syrian refugees amid Idlib flare-up

FILE PHOTO: A general view of Nizip refugee camp, near the Turkish-Syrian border in Gaziantep province, Turkey. © Reuters / Umit Bektas

Turkey is no longer able to contain millions of displaced Syrians and has reached “full capacity,” Ankara’s ruling AK party said in a fresh threat to open the floodgates into Europe as tensions over Idlib reach boiling point.

With Ankara vowing to go “all in” to halt a Syrian Army offensive to retake Idlib province from rebel militias, AKP spokesman Omer Celik suggested Turkey would soon allow hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees to pour into Europe, a threat repeatedly made by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the past.

“Turkey can not bear the pressure of the new refugees, we now say that Turkey is at full capacity,” Celik told CNNTurk early on Friday. While the spokesman noted Turkey’s refugee policy remains “the same,” he said “We are no longer in a position to hold refugees” amid an expected influx of newly displaced Syrians.

An earlier report at Reuters cited an unnamed Turkish official who said much the same, although the official went further in stating that police, coast guard and border security officers had been ordered to “stand down” and allow the refugees to cross into Europe.

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