Turkey Appealed Russia to Stop Air Bombing as Refugees Increased Due to Syrian War

Syrian War, the ongoing military conflicts between several participants, including domestic and foreign allies, caused a mass evacuation of its people to neighboring countries since 2011. Turkey has mostly been affected by the influx of several refugees from Syria. A group of Turkish delegates held a talk with Russia on Monday, December 23, 2019, appealing the latter country to stop air bombing Syria since tens of thousands of Syrians were fleeing to Turkey.

Syrian Conflict and Russian Involvement

Syrian War was started on 15th March 2011 after the public uprising against the current president of the country, Bashar al- Assad. The prolonged war, which has been going on over more than 8 years and 9 months, ignited as Syrians began protesting against the repressive government of Assad, as a part of the ripple effect of 2011’s Arab Spring in the Middle East.

Initially, the demonstration, the protestors’ demanded the resignation of the President and the event turned out to be a military conflict between the allies, including the US-led allies on one side and Russia-led allies on the other. Later, many countries including France and the UK took part in the alliance led by the US.

Russia started involving in military conflicts in September 2015, after the Syrian government led by Assad made an official request for military aid. The Russia government has been providing military weapons and helping the Syrian Government to attack rebel groups.

Russia allied with Hezbollah that entered the war in 2013 in support of the Syrian army backed by the Assad Government. Since 2017, Russian troops have been stationed in Syria, the former has no plans to call back its troops till the conflict has resolved. Centering its military station in the Khmeimim airbase, located in the South-east of the Latakia City in Hmeimim, Syria, the Russian military is targeting the rebel groups based in North-western Syria.

The Influx of Syrian Refugees in Turkey

Turkey has been hosting about 3.7 million Syrians over these years and the influx of the Syrian refugees to Turkey is considered to be one of the world’s biggest refugee populations in the 21st century. In a press release by the Turkey-based Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) on Monday, mentioned that as many as “120,000 Syrians were fleeing towards the Turkish border – higher than Erdogan’s estimate of 80,000.”

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres appealed, “All the countries to bring an immediate end to the hostilities, which he said had displaced 30,000 people in the last week alone.” The Secretary-General talked about a peaceful settlement, which focused on countries’ obligations to protect civilians and ensure freedom of movement.

Russian military’s involvement in an airstrike in the Idlib province of Syria is one of the worst situations in the war-struck country, as several civilians are trapped, killed, and evacuated from their homes. Russian and Syrian fighter jets have been attacking the opponent’s based in Idlib city of Maarat al-Numan, leaving hundreds of families still trapped there and causing thousands to flee. As claimed by the Syrian army on Monday, “It had fought fierce battles in southeastern Idlib and seized several villages after killing large numbers of what it called terrorists.”

Mohamad Rasheed, an activist in Idlib, stated, “It’s a tragic situation for civilians remaining in the city since Russian jets are hitting any convoy that leaves the city, while those who were able to reach areas closer to the border have nowhere to shelter.” Feras Saad, who fled the city with his family and took shelter in the bordering village of Harabosh asserted, “People are lying on the ground sleeping in the open with no blankets and under rain and cold.”

Later on Monday, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu held a phone call with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to discuss developments in Syria and appealed to halt the airstrike in the province. Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan claimed that the country could not handle the problem of a mass influx of Syrian refugees because of the Russian attack in Idlib and urged the country to stop the strikes in the northwestern province.

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