Turkey, world not ready for rising Syria influx: UN
ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
This file photo shows Syrian refugees in a camp in the southern province of Adana’s Boynuyoğun. The world not ready for the rising number of refugees.The U.N. refugee agency warned about a dramatic increase in the number of Syrians refugees in Turkey as Syrian rebels slammed al-Nusra over its al-Qaeda pledge.
“We are already discussing with Turkish authorities that the number anticipated to be in Turkey by the end of the year might even reach 1 million by itself. We have heard from Lebanon that they already have 1 million. So the numbers are absolutely huge,” Carol Batchelor, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told Anatolia news agency.
When Batchelor was asked if the international community was prepared for the numbers that might come, she said the short answer would be “no.” Turkey is sheltering over 400,000 Syrians who have fled the civil war in their country.
A decision by the head of the jihadist al-Nusra Front to pledge allegiance to al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has prompted unprecedented criticism from some of Syria’s Islamist rebel brigades, Agence France-Presse reported.
“When we in Syria launched our jihad [holy war] against the sectarian regime... we did not do so for the sake of any allegiance to a man here or another there,” the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front, an umbrella group of rebel brigades, said in a statement.
Other, more hard-line rebel movements, including the powerful Salafist Ahrar al-Sham brigade, which fights with the Syrian Islamic Front umbrella group, have been less willing to criticize al-Nusra publicly.
Tensions between al-Nusra and Islamist rebels have already boiled over once in the aftermath of the capture of Raqa, the first provincial capital to fall to opposition fighters.