World Bulletin / News Desk
Around 1 million people could flood Turkey’s borders if an operation to retake Mosul, Iraq, from ISIL terrorists is poorly executed, Turkey’s defense minister warned Tuesday.
Any offensive that is heedless of the city’s demographic structure and is poorly planned would set off a massive wave of would-be migrants to Turkey, Fikri Isik told reporters in the Mediterranean coastal city of Antalya.
Isik said coalition forces are planning an operation in the oil-rich city of Mosul and the Syrian city of Raqqa.
He said a badly planned offensive in the region would cause locals to immigrate to Turkey, “if they are not stopped in Iraq”.
A new refugee influx would be a very difficult burden for Turkey, he warned, as it already hosts around 3 million Syrian refugees, the most of any country in the world.
“It is a reality that if Turkey cannot carry [this burden], it will move on to Europe,” he added.
In Washington, the White House said the U.S.-led coalition has been working closely with the Iraqi government to prepare for the offensive.
"Those plans include compensating for the population that's likely to try to flee Mosul," spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.
"There has been an effort to think through the potential impacts of undertaking this operation and driving ISIL out of Mosul," he added
In mid-2014, the terrorist group ISIL captured Mosul, along with vast swathes of territory in the country's northern and western regions.
Recent months have seen the Iraqi army – backed by a 60-nation coalition led by the U.S. – to retake a great deal of territory from ISIL.
Nevertheless, ISIL remains in control of several parts of the country, including Mosul.
Iraqi troops and Kurdish peshmerga fighters have recently captured a number of areas on the outskirts of Mosul, which Iraqi officials have vowed to recapture by year’s end.
AAGüncelleme Tarihi: 05 Ekim 2016, 09:08