French president urges more EU help to support Turkey in dealing with Syrian refugees
BRUSSELS – Anadolu Agency
French President François Hollande speaks during a press conference at the end of the second and last day of an European Union Council meeting on Oct. 25 at the EU Headquarters in Brussels. AFP photoFrench President François Hollande has urged the European Union members to increase their help to countries neighboring Syria to deal with the flow of refugees fleeing the war-torn country.
“Help should be provided to these countries to prevent refugees leaving camps to attempt to come [to Europe],” Hollande said on Oct. 25 after a summit in Brussels on immigration.
Hollande said much more support needs to be provided to Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon to help them continue hosting the refugees.
“We have to act in urgency and prepare,” Hollande was quoted as saying by daily Libération, pointing to a possible exodus of Syrian refugees to Europe.
In order to prevent more tragedies such as the two boats that successively sunk in the Mediterranean off the Italian island of Lampedusa, Hollande said priority should be given to the situation in Libya.
More than 2 million refugees have fled Syria since the start of the conflict in March 2011. Turkey hosts over 500,000 refugees, mostly in camps or sheltering centers. According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, 45,000 Syrian students have enrolled in Turkish schools and more than 5,000 babies have been born on Turkish soil.
In addition to the 2 million Syrians living as refugees, some 4.25 million people have been displaced within the devastated country, according to U.N. figures.
The number of Syrians who have been torn from their homes represents nearly a third of Syria's pre-war population of 20.8 million.