1,700 Turkmen flee Syrian war for Turkey

Turkey has expressed concern in recent days over Russian air raids in the area, fearing they are aimed at hitting Syrian opposition fighters and bolstering the Assad regime

1,700 Turkmen flee Syrian war for Turkey

World Bulletin / News Desk

Around 1,700 Syrian Turkmen have arrived in southern Turkey over the last three days, a local governor said Sunday, as they flee regime attacks backed by Russian airstrikes.

Hatay province Governor Ercan Topaca said 28 injured civilians from the Bayir Bucak border region were among the refugees, one of who had died.

He told a news conference that up to 30,000 inhabitants of the mountainous area could potentially be forced from their homes in attacks on moderate opposition forces and Turkmen and Arab villages.

The Turkmen refugees have been taken in at the Arfali camp, where they had been given aid including tents, blankets, beds, children’s clothing, food and medical attention.

Turkey says it has taken in a total of 2.2 million refugees from Syria's four-year civil war and still maintains an "open door policy" while warning its capacity to take more is limited.

Topaca said the authorities are preparing for a possible new wave of migration from the affected area, with 15 mainly Turkmen villages in the conflict zone with a total population of up to 35,000, including ethnic Arabs.

Ankara has expressed fury over the bombing campaign by Russian and Syrian regime jets in the region, summoning Moscow's ambassador last week to protest.

The Turkmen are a Turkic-speaking ethnic minority who live alongside Arab and Kurdish populations and have traditionally had uneasy relations with the Syrian regimes of Bashar al-Assad and his late father Hafez.

They have close ties to Turkey, which sees the minority as allies in its push to oust Assad from power.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Kasım 2015, 09:10