50,000 Syrian refugees heading to Turkey, sources say

50,000 Syrian refugees heading to Turkey, sources say

Uğur Ergan - ANKARA
50,000 Syrian refugees heading to Turkey, sources say Turkey is bracing for a fresh influx of Syrian refugees due to recent clashes in the country, with Turkish security sources expecting some 50,000 Syrian refugees to enter the country from its southern borders. 

Around 50,000 people living in Aleppo have begun preparations to leave with Russian jets hitting the beleaguered city’s southern and eastern neighborhoods as part of the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime forces have also begun a land operation near the city, which is expected to cause more locals to flee.

Turkish security sources said they expected the number of refugees leaving Aleppo to increase to 350,000 by the weekend if the airstrikes continue, with a number of these people being expected to reach Turkey’s border. 

Syria Turkmen Council President Abdurrahman Mustafa also confirmed 50,000 people have left the city and were heading to Turkey. 

“A major migration has started from the south of Aleppo. Turkmens are in the rural and northern part of the city. The migration will be larger when the regime forces reach here. In the Bayırbucak neighborhood, clashes are harsh. Bayırbucak Turkmens are stuck between al-Assad forces and Russia and ISIL fighters. Turkmens are fighting on these three fronts,” he told daily Hürriyet.  

Joined by fighters from Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah movement and Iran’s elite Quds force, Syria’s army has in the last two weeks launched ground assaults in Aleppo in the north, Hama and Homs in the center, Latakia along the coast and outside Damascus. The army has made small gains, seizing some villages in Aleppo, Homs and Hama.  But it has yet to regain control over any key sites or supply routes and a major advance launched in Aleppo on Oct. 17 - boosted by a reported 2,000 Iranian and Iran-backed fighters - seems to have stalled.