The Independent reports:
“The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that she was “not just appalled, but horrified” by Russian attacks on Syrian civilians that have created a fresh wave of refugees, as she asked Turkey to make sure they cannot reach Europe.
Speaking on a visit to Ankara, Ms Merkel said that recent days had seen “human suffering for tens of thousands of people by bombing – primarily from the Russian side”.
Her visit came as forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad made further gains in Syria’s northern Aleppo province in an offensive that strengthened Damascus and made an estimated 35,000 people homeless. It has prompted fears that hundreds of thousands more refugees could head for Europe, exacerbating a crisis that has already strained the very foundations of the European Union.
Even before the recent military push, leaders from London to Athens were deeply alarmed that, despite a €3bn (£2.3bn) deal with Turkey aimed at avoiding a repeat of last year’s huge tide of migration, the number of arrivals has remained stubbornly high even during the harsh winter months. Yesterday alone, at least 38 people drowned in two separate incidents off the Turkish coast as they tried to reach Greek islands.”
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