Turkish PM slams 'hypocritical' calls to open borders

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Wednesday, February 10, slammed as "hypocritical" calls by some countries urging Ankara to open its borders to Syrian refugees while failing to demand Russia halts punishing air strikes.

Turkey is under mounting pressure to open its border to people fleeing a Russian-backed assault by the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad in the north of the war-torn country.

Tens of thousands of Syrians were still stranded Wednesday at the frontier north of the second city of Aleppo, where more than 500 people are said to have been killed in the offensive since February 1.

On a visit to the Netherlands, Davutoglu insisted the borders of his country had always been open to those fleeing Syria's civil war.

"I find it hypocritical that some circles are telling Turkey to 'open your borders' while at the same time failing to tell Russia 'enough is enough'," Davutoglu said.

But he added: "We will take in Syrians who want to come (to Turkey), but as a priority we are building a new camp to accommodate Syrians inside Syria's borders."

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who had been hoping to find a way to tackle Europe's migrant crisis, also slammed the Russian air strikes, launched by Moscow late last year.

"The Netherlands calls on all parties including Russia to strictly comply with UN resolution 2254," he said.

Fighting must stop to allow "in humanitarian aid," Rutte said, adding the "Russian air strikes would seem to be in conflict with" the resolution.

Russia is a signatory to UN Security Council resolution 2254, passed in December, which orders all warring parties in Syria to respect an immediate ceasefire and allow humanitarian agencies to take food and relief supplies to besieged civilians.

But, with UN-led peace talks in Geneva stalled, Russian jets have continued to bomb Assad's enemies, most recently in the onslaught that has seen regime forces advance to all but encircle the city of Aleppo. – Rappler.com