Turkey announced plans to set up a refugee camp inside Syria to host people evacuated from the city of Aleppo. Plans for a camp do not necessarily translate into Turkey closing down borders to sick and wounded Syrians, they will still be allowed access to Turkish hospitals, officials said on Friday.
Camp will be established in one of two promising sites, around 3.5 km inside Syria, have been identified for a camp with the capacity to host up to 80,000 people, two senior officials told Reuters.
The camp will be jointly set up by the Turkish Red Crescent, disaster agency AFAD and IHH. The IHH official said evacuees had so far largely found shelter with relatives in and around Syria’s Idlib province, southwest of Aleppo, but added that work to identify those with nowhere to go was under way.
Turkey is already sheltering around 2.7 million Syrian refugees. An aid official with Syrian NGO Shafak, working on the Aleppo evacuation, said he expected more people to head for the Turkish border as the villages west of Aleppo were now full.
Some arrived on Friday at a clinic in Syria close to the Turkish border gate of Cilvegozu where they were tended to by Turkish aid workers, video footage obtained by Reuters showed.
“We were bombed by a plane,” said one man, his head and arm bandaged, lying on a bed hugging his young son. “All my family were killed and all I have left is him and a daughter,” he said. He had been told his daughter had been brought to Turkey but did not know her condition or whereabouts.
The evacuation of the last opposition-held areas of Aleppo was suspended on Friday after pro-regime militias demanded that wounded people should also be brought out of two Shi’ite Muslim villages being besieged by rebels.
Turkey says that close to 8,000 people – rebels and civilians – have been evacuated under a ceasefire deal it brokered with Russia.