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Turkey to close its doors to refugees from Idlib: top AKP official

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If an adverse scenario predicted for Idlib comes to pass, Turkey will not open its doors to eventual waves of refugees and will instead settle them in camps to be established in Syrian territory, according to Volkan Bozkır, chairman of the parliamentary Commission on Foreign Affairs and former minister of European Union affairs.

Speaking on Monday in an interview with the pro-government Akşam newspaper, Bozkır claimed the government is taking every measure to handle any possible migratory waves within Syria and that they have the means to do so.

Suggesting that Idlib represents a small sample of the Syrian demography, Bozkır emphasized that it is important to remove terrorists from the area in a way that will not jeopardize the safety of civilians. “Any breach of this principle would mean playing into the hands of terrorist organizations. In addition to the civilian losses, new waves of migrants would amplify the current humanitarian crisis,” Bozkır said.

“New migrant waves might occur in the case of a negative course of events. However, we plan to not open our doors and to instead settle the migrants in camps to be established in Syrian territory. During the previous waves, Syrians arrived in Turkey through İdlib and the Turkish province of Reyhanlı. Terrorists also used the same region to infiltrate Turkey. We will not take that risk this time. We are taking every measure to come up with solutions within Syria,” Bozkır said.

Bozkır underlined that the actors in Idlib are well known by everyone and that a purge of Tahrir Al Sham (HTS) militants including its leadership would be possible, thus rendering a military offensive unnecessary.

The HTS is a rebel group based in Idlib that is regarded as terrorist by Russia, Iran and Turkey, main outside actors in Syria.

Bozkır also asserted that Russia, Iran and Turkey from the outset have been endeavoring sincerely and strongly to stop the bloodshed in Syria and that the situation in Syria would be much worse today if these three countries had not assumed responsibility. He added that the US-led coalition on Syria has not been efficient due to an inadequate US presence in the area.

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