Listen: Syria, Turkey, Assad discussed on Today in Focus
"It's it's a crisis on the scale of the Inga leaving Burma and ending up in Cox's Bazar. Hundreds of thousands of people are actually camped out on the Turkish border next to you know Turkish observation posts in bottles but because it's not international because no one's crossing any borders. It's going sort of not under the radar but it's definitely kind of passing people by because they think Syria. They think this. War's been going on for nine years. It's very difficult to keep track of what's happening but it's it's really hard to underestimate the scale of this crisis right now. This is the single worst thing in terms of numbers that we are seeing in Syria. Today's I mean nine years into this war. It's not getting better. It's getting worse as you say. This is not technically an international crisis because people aren't crossing into Turkey. Why is that? Why can't we just let them through it? Liberties of very unlikely to be able to cross the Turkish border. Turkey is adamant going to keep the borders shots for both domestic political reasons because they already have at least three point. Five million Syrians on taking an even more would be it would be extremely unpopular moved politically at home and because it is a genuine security risk to open your borders to three million people some extremist elements mixed in among them which is why again the situation. The humanitarian situation in Aleppo is so dire. This is this is it. There is no else for them to go Turkeys very very unlikely to open up border to these people who are fleeing the offensive so people are basically trapped between a closed border an assads approaching forces. I miss sounds like a hopeless situation. Yes a lot of people A lot of NGOs a lot of UN contacts basically at the point now where the describing it lip as a kind of new Gaza a Gaza in the making way if the fighting dies down if if if Turkey manages to push the regime back. It's still very unclear whether they're able to do that. Even if the fighting Stops tomorrow what we are still looking at is kind of holding bay full civilians. Who many of whom are not even from their who've who fled there from other places kind of chafing under the rule of a jihadist group but also unable to leave because all the other ways out close to them so there are parallels to be drawn with Palestinians in Gaza whom Linda the rule of Hamas sports are on all sides. Bhai by Israel. You've mentioned the idea of trying to push the regime away from that border either using the army to do this. Turkey has had twelve observation posts in it lip since twenty eighteen supposedly to maintain the St Esscalation. Deal so one. This new regime push started that has posts. Turkish lives directly endanger. We currently believe four of those twelve observation posts have been completely encircled by regime forces. And what's happened to the minute? Basis is actually not clear. We actually don't know. Turkey is very serious about the intervention that is taken it lip so far centene twelve thousands men which is a huge number into it lab in the last two weeks to beef up its observation posts in the area and stop to try and stop the regime from encroaching any further on the rebel territory. Should we be worried about a potential direct conflict between Assad government in Syria and Turkey? They has already been a direct clashes between Assad government and Turkey in the last two weeks so starting with developments in Syria where government shelling has killed. Four Turkish soldiers in the northern province of it live took. His Defense Ministry says nine people were also injured. Ankara has been sending reinforcements into the area to counter the Syrian government offensive in Lib and Aleppo speaking earlier. Turkish president reject tai-bo said. His forces have responded to that attack and the Tokyo will continue to retaliate. It's been the biggest loss of life for Turkey in the Syrian war. Today's to regime helicopters were shot down in the last week as well probably by rebels But under Turkish direction but no one's claimed that so we're seeing basically this really worrying plethora of incidences whether it's been direct loss of life caused by these two sides fighting each other which we haven't really seen in nine years in the worst days. I don't think Turkey and Syria are directly going to go to war. Turkey at the beginning of the conflicts. Very much wanted. Assad gone ferry back the rebels in a covert but very strong way has become more over about support for rebel groups in Syria over the years but knows at this point that there's no possibility of regime change in Syria. There's no international actor. He was under any kind of illusion. That Assad is going anywhere anytime soon so Turkey is very much moved from a position of trying to influence the outcome of events in Syria. To a kind of defensive position Turkey is trying to broker some kind of de-escalation deal with Moscow right now. Officials from both sides have met three times already in the last two weeks on each time have laughed without any kind of agreement on anything. Bethany deadlock where a lot of people a call in the middle of two very powerful forces pursuing their own interests on the one hand you've got Russia and Assad pushing them towards the border on the other Turkey trying to push everybody away. The role is horrific mart lowcock. Who's the UN chief responsible for humanitarian affairs? Says if this is all we're going to see is that part of northwestern. Syria turned into the world's biggest pile of rubble strewn with the corpses of a million children. Their trajectory where on is of the world's biggest humanitarian horror story of the twenty th centuries. I something needs to change. And yet is continuing. How does that feel for you? Reporting on reporting on a lot of Syria is a very frustrating process I have been many times which is more than some people get to do because the access is difficult even then I used to call up people in Aleppo years ago on. Have a conversation about what they were looking out today and what was happening on and it felt like you will filing a report that people would read and they would realize how severe the situation was and then that would change something. That's the whole point of journalism. You're supposed to bring these faraway places to to an audience. So that they can use this information to do something about it but as the years have gone on I think I will people in it live now and I feel bad about it. I feel bad asking the question because I feel bad asking them. What's going on? What do you think is going to happen next? Because they know the answer and I know the answer that it doesn't matter why right nothing's going to change at this point so it's difficult. It's really difficult. There is no one in it. Live right now. Who doesn't know that they've been betrayed by the rest of the world and the ad it's injury by the Russians on by Assad that everyone in Libya terrorist is is. Well I find it very worrying about those talking. Points have managed permeate so much of the Western discourse. It really shouldn't be that difficult to hold in your head. Yes this area is normally under the control of ATS. Who are real zone? He would basically back is but also that there are three million civilians living that too. That's not difficult concept to grasp but I feel like I feel like the rising has been on. The Wolf Ate lab for four or five years at this point. I feel like I've been waiting for this day for a long time on. It's difficult to have conversations with people who were there one. We all know that this was where we were going to end up things. Maybe could have been different. There was no international. Will to make it different. Do you worry more now. Sometimes you might get to cool those people and they won't pick up the phone yet Yes this is the. This is the modern tragedy of a remote reporting on aspects of a conflict that you cannot access all the time. You never quite know if somebody's going to pick up the phone or if those two texts on. Whatsapp WE'RE GONNA turn blue because somebody's ride. Your message and every siege in Syria has been the same thing today. Same thing year after year but this is the last. This is the last time at this point. And unless people that have thousands of donors to pay smugglers to get them over the Turkish border. Then this is the last reality breath and find keefer speaking to me. Thank you very much. That was bath mckernan. You can read all of her brilliant reporting on Syria at the website and the website is also where you can buy tickets to a Labor leadership hustings in Manchester next Tuesday hosted by our very own initiative. 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