Daily Management Review

Amidst Intensified Assault in Aleppo, Syrians Flee to Turkish Border


Amidst Intensified Assault in Aleppo, Syrians Flee to Turkish Border
Intensifying an assault on rebel-held areas that has prompted tens of thousands more Syrians to seek refuge across the border in Turkey, Russian and Syrian government forces gained ground north of Aleppo on Saturday.
The Syrian peace talks that were to be held at Geneva were derailed due to the assault around Aleppo which aid workers have said could soon fall to government forces. Reversing gains the rebels made last year, Russia's intervention has tipped the war President Bashar al-Assad's way.  
In a five year conflict that has killed at least 250,000 people and driven 11 million from their homes, Aleppo, Syria's largest city before the civil war erupted, would be a huge strategic prize for Assad's government.
Opposition held areas of the divided city were threatened to be besieged by the advances of the Syrian army and allied militias, including Iranian fighters. While around 350,000 live in the opposition-held areas, government-controlled parts of Aleppo are home to more than a million people.
An official with the Turkish disaster agency AFAD said that on Saturday about 15,000 Syrians were waiting on the Syrian side of Turkey's Oncupinar border crossing and up to 50,000 more were on their way.
"At the moment there isn't an emergency situation in terms of security where the crowd is waiting. The first priority for them was to be in a secure place and the other (Syrian) side of the border is secure," the AFAD official said.
"Food and aid is being distributed. For now there isn't an imminent risk to their lives," the official added.
Due to security concerns, Oncupinar is opened from time to time to allow refugees into Turkey. Oncupinar has been officially shut for nearly a year due to security concerns and Turkey has already taken in some 2.5 million Syrians as refugees.
In order to beg to the authorities to allow in their relatives fleeing the latest bombardments in Syria, dozens of Syrian refugees already in Turkey queued up on the Turkish side of the border at Oncupinar.
Reuters quoted Ahmet Sadul, 43, a Syrian refugee in Turkey saying that he was hopeful to get back into Syria to look for his relatives.
"Now there are thousands of people from Azaz all waiting on the other side. They escaped from the Russians. I want to go and get my relatives. They are bombing Syrians all the time. Many people have left Aleppo. But still there are many civilians there. If Russia is successful, we are all dead," he said.
Its actions are aimed at shoring up Syria's legitimate government and combating terrorism says Russia while denying targeting civilians. Moscow has been accused by the West and Turkey of using indiscriminate force in the conflict. Both the West and Turkey want Assad to step down.
A humanitarian corridor from Azaz into Kurdish-controlled Afrin has been agreed upon to be opened by Kurdish and Syrian rebel factions in the countryside north of Aleppo for those fleeing the bombing but unable to cross into Turkey, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.