Socialist Worker

Syrian refugees stuck at Turkish and EU borders

Issue No. 2490

Syrian refugees reaching Turkeys border

Syrian refugees reaching Turkey's border (Pic: European Commission DG ECHO)


Tens of thousands of people are fleeing Syria’s second city Aleppo to gather at refugee camps around the Oncupinar gate on the border with Turkey.

Turkish authorities said 35,000 people arrived in just 48 hours last week, with more coming every day. Eyewitnesses in the city say more people are planning to leave.

Opposition stronghold Eastern Aleppo is under siege and there is heavy bombardment from the Syrian dictatorship and its ally Russia. Its fall could be the catalyst for many more people to lose hope.

Officially Turkey has an open border policy with Syria. Yet it has kept the crossing closed to almost all the refugees.

European Union (EU) leaders called on Turkey to open the crossing at a summit in Amsterdam last Saturday.

Yet the EU also sent guards to Greece’s northern border to stop refugees trying to head further on into Europe.

EU foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini insisted that aid promised to Turkey in December was precisely to help it welcome Syrians. But the aid was part of a deal to make sure Syrians stopped getting from Turkey into Europe, triggering a crackdown on refugees.

The German and French governments convinced Greece last Friday to recognise Turkey as a “safe third country”. This means refugees passing through Turkey can be deported back there.

EU leaders are blackmailing Greece into blocking refugees or being cut off.

There was outrage across Australia over the past week, including marches thousands-strong, against its brutal immigration system. Refugees are trapped in offshore prison camps in a system many European politicians would like to copy.

 


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