The flow of refugees from strife-torn Syria to neighbouring Turkey has resumed in earnest after the failure of an April peace plan, with more than 2,000 arrivals in the past three days, officials said Tuesday.
The number of Syrian refugees in camps set up in southeastern Turkey reached 26,747 on Tuesday, up from 24,433 on Saturday, according to figures announced by Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).
The influx comes as violence continues in Syria, particularly in northwestern villages close to the border.
The rebel Free Syrian Army announced Friday that it was resuming “defensive operations” because of the failure of the peace plan brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan that supposedly took effect on April 12.
The refugees are accommodated in Turkish Red Crescent camps in the southeastern provinces of Hatay, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa and Kilis.
Turkish officials also noted that they had put out suspicious fires close to the camps that they said may have been started by arsonists targeting opponents of the regime who have settled on the Turkish side of the border, Anatolia reported.
“Our teams today spotted two people walking along the border, setting fire to the bushes. … They were on the Syrian side, so we could not do anything,” said Mehmet Harbi, the head of Hatay province’s forestry service.
“I belive the opposition camps are being targeted,” he added, noting that while the flames did not pose a serious risk, but 10 hectares (25 acres) of forests have been burnt.
Inside Syria, four civilians were killed late Monday in a “huge military operation” in the Kfar Oweid area of Idlib, a province bordering Turkey and a stronghold of rebel forces, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
There were also clashes in several other areas of the province in northwest Syria, the monitoring group said.
[Photo By Bulent Kilic/AFP/File]