Turkey can’t handle new ‘refugee wave’: Erdogan

24 December, 2019 12:00 AM printer

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that his country cannot handle a “new refugee wave” from Syria, reports BBC.

Tens of thousands of people have fled towards the Turkish border amid increased bombardment of the rebel-held Idlib province in north-west Syria.

Turkey already hosts some 3.7 million Syrian refugees - the largest refugee population in the world.

Erdogan warned that a new influx would be “felt by all European countries”.

Up to three million people live in Idlib province, the last major region in Syria still held by rebel fighters and jihadists opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.

Speaking at an awards ceremony in Istanbul on Sunday, Mr Erdogan said more than 80,000 people from Idlib had fled to areas near the Turkish border amid heightened bombardments from Syrian and Russian forces. “If the violence towards the people of Idlib does not stop, this number will increase even more. In that case, Turkey will not carry such a migrant burden on its own,” he said.