Idlib’s displaced looking for ways to overcome Turkey’s border wall

The Russia-backed Syrian government forces escalated offensive in last rebel-held province of Idlib and neighbouring province of Aleppo is pushing families escaping the advance to devise ways overcome the border wall into neighbouring Turkey, France 24 reported.

Around 900,000 people have been displaced, some living in informal camps, since the offensive was launched in the last jihadist bastion of the war-torn country in December.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's has warned that his country cannot handle a new refugee wave from Syria alone. 

"The negative effects of this pressure on us will be an issue felt by all European countries, especially Greece," Erdoğan has said.

Ankara agreed to curb the flow of migrants to Europe under a 2016 deal with Brussels, in return for billions of euros in aid. But the Turkish president has repeatedly threatened to open the gates of migration to Europe after various disputes with the European countries.

Turkey, already home to 3.6 million Syrian refugees, fears the advance could spark another influx and has placed barbed wire and watchtowers along the wall to prevent any more crossings, France24 said.

"When I saw that the situation was getting worse, I decided to build a ladder," it quoted Idlib resident Abu Jabber, standing outside his new home among the olive groves of Kafr Lusin, as saying.

"We will climb over the wall to protect the lives of our children," Abu Jabber said. "Either they (regime forces) kill us all or we enter Turkey".

But trying to escape to Turkey also carries risks, France24 said, as Turkish border guards have been known to sporadically open fire on Syrian civilians attempting to cross the border illegally.

The UN and aid groups have called for ceasefire in the region and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has called for Turkey in particular to take in more of the displaced.

"Look how life is beautiful behind the wall, while here it's a disaster," Abdel Razzak Sallat, who lives in an informal camp along the border with his eight children, told France24. "Aren't we humans too? If we have to... we will tear down the wall."

https://www.france24.com/en/20200223-ladder-to-safety-syrians-eye-escape-over-turkey-border