Refugee camps could be set up in areas taken from ISIL in Syria: Turkey
AA photoThe capture of Dabiq in northern Syria will further help Turkey’s efforts to build a safe zone in the region, a senior government official has said, expressing Ankara’s demand that the international community help establish a refugee camp in the area.
“We, as Turkey, are practically turning this area into a safe zone which could also bring about the establishment of a [refugee] camp with the consent of the international community,” Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting on Oct. 17. “You can transport people to the camps but afterwards if one [country] destroys all these camps and kills people, then the international community will not be able to handle this.”
Kurtulmuş’s statement is in line with Ankara’s long-term demand for the establishment of a safe zone between Marea and Jarablus and a no-fly zone so that refugees will not be threatened.
An offensive launched by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) nearly two months ago resulted in the clearing of an area of around 1,250 square kilometers in northern Syria from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Turkish army-backed FSA troops captured Dabiq from the jihadists ahead of an expected move on another strategic town, al-Bab, 20 kilometers away.
“With the liberation of Dabiq, Kilis and nearby provinces will feel relieved,” Kurtulmuş said. Kilis, on the border of Syria, is no longer within the range of ISIL’s missiles after jihadists were pushed further south.
The FSA has taken control of another nine residential areas near Dabiq, military sources said, noting that border security between Azaz and Marea had almost been completely provided and that the road network from east to west and north to south had been secured as well.
UNHCR fears 100,000 may flee Mosul for Syria, Turkey
Up to 100,000 Iraqis may flee to Syria and Turkey to escape the Iraqi government’s military assault in Mosul, the United Nations refugee agency said on Oct. 17.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) issued an appeal for an additional $61 million to provide tents, camps, winter items and stoves for displaced inside Iraq and new refugees needing shelter in the two neighboring countries.
“The UNHCR is concerned that events in Mosul may cause up to 100,000 Iraqis to flee toward Syria and Turkey,” Reuters quoted the UNHCR as saying. “Preparedness plans are underway in Syria to receive up to 90,000 Iraqi refugees.”
More than 3 million people are already internally displaced in Iraq and aid agencies say up to 1 million could flee Mosul, a city of 1.5 million where ISIL proclaimed a “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria in 2014.
The UNHCR said a site that previously hosted Iraqi refugees was being prepared to accommodate another wave in Syria, currently home to some 26,000 Iraqi refugees, many of whom have been living in exile for 10 years.
The UNHCR said that within Iraq, it had in place 21,800 tents, sufficient to cover the shelter needs of 130,800 people, with more arriving every day. “Given the possible scale of displacement, additional tents are a priority for UNHCR,” it added.