Russia is real cause of EU border crisis, US says

Sallie Anderson

Some 3 million more Syrian refugees are being “deliberately” pressed by Russia towards Europe, US diplomats have actually alerted.

“I just want to underscore the reality and the magnitude of the challenge,” David Satterfield, the US ambassador to Turkey, stated in Brussels on Tuesday (10 March).

  • US unique envoy on Syria James Jeffrey (r) (Image:

” Turkey deals with in the instant case, however Europe as an entire, the obstacle positioned by as much as 3 million displaced [people] relocating a progressively compressed style … up versus the Turkish border,” he stated.

The refugees were “jammed together in about half of the province of Idlib [in northwest Syria], lots of of them extremely near the Turkish border, who run the risk of encountering, destabilising Turkey, and possibly proceeding to Europe,” James Jeffrey, a US unique envoy on Syria, likewise stated.

The refugees were being eliminated by Syrian and russian routine forces, however Russia supervised, the US diplomats showed.

There was a “deliberate Russian decision to initiate a campaign in Idlib”, Satterfield stated.

“I underscore Russian aggression, because the Syrian regime on its own could not be conducting this campaign. This is enabled by, at all times, Russian air and ground activity, but particularly air,” he stated.

Russia was utilizing the refugees as its “primary lever” in the area, he added.

“By forcing their movement, their displacement … towards the Turkish border, Russia’s calculation is this will compel Turkey to take decisions favourable to Russian ambitions,” he stated.

Russia’s ally, the Syrian routine, likewise desired the refugees, who originated from rebel locations, to be cleaned, Satterfield stated.

” The intent of the [Syrian] routine is to force these populations … out of the nation and to have them leave completely. There is no possibility of refugees going back to Syria,” the US ambassador stated.

Syria dispute

For its part, Turkey, a Nato ally, which currently hosts 3.6 m refugees, is combating in Idlib on the rebel side versus the Syrian routine.

The US diplomats spoke after Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğa just recently opened his Greek border to migrants to draw Western attention to Syria.

10s of thousands of individuals have actually attempted to cross, triggering EU discouragement.

The 2020 exodus is, up until now, much smaller sized than in 2015, when one million individuals strolled through Greece to Germany and more afield.

However Tuesday’s US warning echoed one from 2016, when Philip Breedlove, an American general who supervised of Nato soldiers in Europe, likewise stated Russia was utilizing refugees to destabilise theEU


“Together, Russia and the Assad regime are deliberately weaponising migration in an attempt to overwhelm European structures and break European resolve,” Breedlove stated, describing Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

The 2 US diplomats spoke after Erdoğan and Russian president Vladimir Putin concurred a ceasefire on 5 March.

However Putin would break that truce eventually, the US alerted.

” We do not think they [Russia and Syria] have any interest in an irreversible ceasefire in Idlib. They are out to get a military success in all of Syria,” Jeffrey stated.

“The sad record of Syria over the course of the past two years has been ceasefires with Russian guarantees that have not been ceasefires – they were temporary, transactional halts until Russia was prepared to renew the campaign,” Satterfield stated.

Western sanctions

Nato and EU states remained in talks on how to stop Putin in Idlib, Jeffreyadded


The US diplomats were lukewarm on Turkey’s require Nato to impose a safe zone for refugees there.

However other choices consisted of US arms transfers to Turkey and a brand-new “package of sanctions” created “to encourage Russia and Syria not to do what we think they want to do, which is to break the ceasefire, push these three million refugees across the border,” Jeffrey stated.

“If they ignore our preparations and move forward, we will then react as rapidly as possible in consultation with our European and Nato allies,” he stated.

Erdoğa had actually strained ties with the West long prior to he just recently resumed his Greekborder


The conflicts covered Turkish human rights abuses, a Russia arms offer, and gas drilling in Cypriot waters.

However the Idlib crisis was larger than these, Satterfield showed.

“Turkey is a part of the Nato alliance. It is a part of Europe. It is a part, in our view, of the West,” the US ambassador to Turkey stated.

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