EU calls extraordinary foreign ministers’ meeting on Syria conflict

Politics

The European Union (EU) has called an extraordinary meeting of its Foreign Affairs Council next week to discuss the worsening Syria conflict, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Sunday.

The fighting around the Syrian rebel stronghold of Idlib “represents a serious threat to international peace and security” with grave humanitarian consequences for the region and beyond, he said in a statement.

He said the Foreign Affairs Council meeting was called at the request of the Greek Foreign Minister.

Borrell said the EU must redouble efforts to address the terrible humanitarian crisis.

The top diplomat said the Syrian regime must urgently re-engage in a political process under the auspices of the United Nations.

Greek police fired tear gas to repel hundreds of migrants who tried to force their way across the border from Turkey on Sunday, with thousands more behind them after Ankara relaxed curbs on their movement.

The flow of migrants across Turkey to Greece’s border, in particular, has revived EU fears of a reprise of the 2015 refugee emergency. That inflow of mostly Syrian asylum-seekers was stemmed in 2016 by a deal with Ankara called the EU-Turkey Statement.

On Feb. 27, at least 34 Turkish soldiers were martyred and tens of others injured in an airstrike by the Bashar al-Assad regime forces in Idlib, a de-escalation zone in northwestern Syria, just across Turkey’s southern border.

Turkish officials announced the next day that they would no longer try to stop irregular migrants from reaching Europe.

Turkey already hosts nearly four million migrants from Syria alone, more than any other country, and has complained that Europe failed to keep promises to help migrants.

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