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More Than 3,000 Syrians Flee To Turkey As Assad Forces Advance | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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More Than 3,000 Syrians Flee To Turkey As Assad Forces Advance

More Than 3,000 Syrians Flee To Turkey As Assad Forces Advance

More Than 3,000 Syrians Flee To Turkey As Assad Forces Advance

ISTANBUL – More than 3,000 Turkmens and Arabs fleeing advances by pro-government Syrian forces in the north of Latakia province have crossed into Turkey over the past three days, Turkish disaster agency AFAD said on Monday.

A Turkmen official said several thousand more migrants were expected as a camp mostly sheltering Turkmens in the
Syrian village of Yamadi was being evacuated after the pro-government forces backed by Russian air strikes advanced.
“After the attacks have spilled over to Yamadi camp, the first group of 731 migrants, mostly babies, children, women and the elderly, have entered our country,” AFAD said in a statement.

A total of 3,120 people have already crossed through Pulluyazi, a village near the border town of Yayladagi in Turkey’s southern Hatay province.

The influx has accelerated since Jan. 24, when Rabiya, a rebel-held town in Latakia province, was captured by pro-government forces. The displacement occurred as U.N.-backed peace talks, the first for two years, struggled to get off the ground in Geneva.

Representatives of the Saudi-backed High Negotiation Committee (HNC), which includes political and militant opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, are seeking a halt to attacks on civilian areas, the release of detainees and a lifting of blockades.

Russian air strikes have killed nearly 1,400 civilians since Moscow started its aerial campaign in support of Assad nearly four months ago, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said on Saturday. An opposition delegate said bombings intensified before the peace talks.

“There was an attack by Russians over the weekend on the camp,” a Turkmen official at Yayladagi said. “Thankfully it did not fall right at the heart of the camp, but still 40 people were wounded,” he said.
“A lot of towns, villages in the north of Latakia have already been emptied. But there’s still another 3,000-4,000 civilians there who haven’t left,” he said.

AFAD said more than 150 migrants have been placed at a new camp in Guvecci, on the Turkish side of the border, while others have been sent to refugee camps in the border provinces of Gaziantep and Sanliurfa. Some found refugee with relatives.

The Turkmens are ethnic kin of the Turks and Turkey has been particularly angered by what it says is Russian targeting of them in Syria. It has said that Russia’s actions in Syria risk exacerbating a refugee crisis soon after it struck a deal with the EU to stem the flow of migrants to Europe.