Turkey reportedly declared Friday that it will no longer block Syrian refugees from reaching Europe.
The decision came as a result of 33 Turkish soldiers dying in a Syrian airstrike in Syria’s northwestern Idlib area, Reuters reported Friday.
The attack reportedly prompted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to call an emergency cabinet meeting in Ankara to discuss the situation. Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and Turkish force commanders are focusing their military action on the Syria-Turkey border, state media reported, according to Reuters. (RELATED: Russia And Turkey Edge Toward Showdown In Syria)
Turkey first entered Syria with a fully equipped military contingent last October when U.S. forces left the country. Erdogan is threatening a full-scale invasion unless Syria moves its military forces away from Turkish encampments, according to Reuters.
With the deaths of the 33 soldiers, Turkey has lost 54 personnel in Syria in February. President Donald Trump authorized sanctions against Turkey as a result of its invasion of Syria.
Turkish Communications Director Fahrettin Altun announced that land and air forces of Turkey are now attacking “all known” Syrian military targets to avenge the lethal airstrike.
Turkey has not released any further details of what these operations entail.
The conflict between Turkish-supported Syrian rebels and Russian-backed Syria has reportedly resulted in another one million refugees fleeing the fighting, sparking yet another humanitarian crisis in the nine-year-long civil war. (RELATED: US Bombs Its Own Base In Syria To Prevent NATO Ally Turkey From Using It)
As Turkey anticipates more refugees arriving from Syria, Turkey has reportedly decided to allow the mass of humanity to pass unhindered.
“We have decided, effective immediately, not to stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe by land or sea,” an anonymous Turkish senior government official told Reuters.