Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned Europe that it may be facing another massive wave of refugees from Syria as Syrian government forces under President Bashar al-Assad have advanced into the province of Idlib.
President Erdogan warned that Turkey would not be able to handle the new wave of asylum seekers and refugees from Syria on its own, saying “If the violence towards the people of Idlib does not stop, this number will increase even more,” and added, “In that case, Turkey will not carry such a migrant burden on its own,” Deutsche Welle reports.
“The negative impact of the pressure we will be subjected to, will be something that all European nations, especially Greece, will also feel,” Erdogan said.
The advance into Idlib has led to an additional 120,000 people fleeing the area and making their way toward the Turkish border according to Turkish aid group the Humanitarian Relief Foundation. The number is substantially larger than the 50,000 estimate given by Erdogan just days before.
“Now, there are 50,000 people coming to our lands from Idlib. We already host 4 million people, and now, an additional 50,000 are coming. Maybe this figure will increase even further,” Erdogan said on December 19th.
Greece Prepares for 100,000 Illegal Migrants in 2020 https://t.co/re3IDDcppc
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 20, 2019
The warning is just the latest from the Turkish Islamist leader who has made threats toward Greece and the European Union repeatedly since the signing of the EU-turkey migrant pact in 2016.
In October, Erdogan threatened Europe with millions of Syrian asylum seekers after the political bloc came out against Turkish military operations in Northern Syria.
“Hey EU, wake up. I say it again: if you try to frame our operation there as an invasion, our task is simple: we will open the doors and send 3.6 million migrants to you,” Erdogan said.
Just a month later in November, the Turkish leader reiterated his threat saying that if the international community did not support Turkey with cash, he would be forced to “open the gates” and allow migrants to cross into Greece.
“If we see that this does not work, just like I said before, we will have no option left but to open the gates. If we open the gates, it is obvious where they will go,” he said.