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Syria: Refugees

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL5962, tabled on 8 February 2016

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Bates on 8 February (HL Deb, col 1980), what steps they are taking to persuade the government of Turkey to open the border at Oncupinar to enable Syrian refugees fleeing Russian aerial bombardment of the Aleppo Province to reach safety; what assessment they have made of how many refugees are at that border; and how many of those are estimated to be women and children.

Answered on

15 February 2016

We condemn the recent actions of the Syrian regime, driving civilians from their homes in and around Aleppo, and question the role of Russia in supporting this offensive. We are appalled by the humanitarian impact of these developments and the ongoing war in Syria. We assess that there are over 30,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as a result of this action. On 8 February 2016, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released an initial assessment which estimated 80 per cent of IDPs to be women and children. We welcome Turkey’s generosity in hosting over 2.5m Syrian refugees in Turkey, a commitment reaffirmed by Prime Minister Davutoğlu at the 4 February London Syria Conference. The Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister have made clear that Turkey will continue to allow refugees to enter Turkey. The UK continues to work closely with the Turkish government, including through implementation of the EU-Turkey Action Plan, to ensure refugees continue to receive support and protection.