After a series of airstrikes on late Thursday killed at least 33 Turkish soldiers and wounded 36 in Syria’s Idlib, a senior Turkish official told Reuters that Turkey will no longer stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe by land or sea.
Hundreds of refugees have rushed into Turkey’s northwestern province of Edirne which is located along the European Union countries Bulgaria and Greece following the statements of Turkish authorities in the wake of the deadly airstrikes.
Some refugees came to the city by taxis from İstanbul as some others were transferred by buses to reach Kapıkule border gate after the airstrikes that killed Turkish troops in Syria.
As the refugees rushed into the border gate in Edirne, the border officials are claimed to direct the refugees to “the river or the forest” en route to Europe. Some different groups of refugees have been observed in Edirne, the city that has borders with Bulgaria and Greece.
Meanwhile, Ömer Çelik, the spokesman of the ruling party AKP, talked after the airstrikes in Syria. “Our policy of refugees is still the same but we cannot keep them anymore. Turkey’s capacity for refugees is full. After the strikes, a movement of refugees to Europe has started.”
Talking to AFP news agency, a Greek official said that they have heightened the sea and land borders of Greece after a Turkish official said that Ankara will no longer stop refugees from reaching Europe.
Meanwhile, a group of refugees, nearly 30, has been observed in Greece’s island of Lesvos in the northeastern Aegean Sea. Early today a group moved by a boat from Turkey’s coastal district of Ayvacık in the province of Çanakkale. The boat could reach Lesvos despite Greek coastal security forces’ warning to stop.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency shared some photos and videos showing dozens of refugees and migrants flocking to the Turkish-Greek border en route to Europe.
Turkey hosts approximately 3.7 million Syrian refugees, while the European Union has provided billions of euros for “humanitarian aid” in return for the Turkish government agreeing to stop the influx of migrants into Europe under a deal signed in 2016.