Refugees International Statement on Reported Opening of Turkish Border to Syrian Refugees

Please see below statement from Refugees International President Eric Schwartz:

“We have seen media reports that Turkey has told its security officials to stand down on refugee border crossings. If true, the move could provide a lifeline for the hundreds of thousands of desperate Syrians fleeing a brutal and condemnable Syrian and Russian offensive in Idlib. And we would urge Turkey not to impose an arbitrary deadline on those seeking to escape the Russian-Syrian kill box. We also urge Western donors to surge humanitarian assistance into Turkey to care for those in need.

Media reports also indicate that Turkey has also decided to allow Syrian refugees to leave Turkey for Europe by land and sea. All refugees should enjoy freedom of movement, but we are also deeply concerned that those leaving Turkey will face a perilous journey across the sea to Greece—a journey that has claimed so many lives. The Greek government will need to move quickly to rescue and receive refugees that make the crossing. Greece itself is ill-prepared to receive a sudden influx of refugees—thus, it critical that the EU support Greece and fast track refugees from Greece to other EU countries where they can seek asylum.”

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Sarah Sheffer at or 202 540 7029.