AMSTERDAM, Feb 6 : Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reaffirmed on Saturday his country would keep its "open border policy" for Syrian refugees, saying as many as 55,000 people fleeing a new regime offensive were heading toward the frontier.
Cavusoglu told reporters after a meeting with his EU counterparts in Amsterdam that there had been no change in Turkish policy.
"We still keep this open border policy for these people fleeing from the aggression, from the regime as well as air strikes of Russia," he said.
"We have received already 5,000 of them; another 50,000 to 55,000 are on their way and we cannot leave them there," he said.
Turkey already hosts more than two million people who have fled the war in Syria.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Saturday for better protection at the European Union's external borders in order to maintain the passport-free Schengen zone.
Merkel, who opened her country's borders to Syrians fleeing civil war last summer, is under increasing pressure to limit the influx of migrants after more than a million arrived in Germany last year.
"We need to protect our external borders because we want to keep Schengen," Merkel said in her weekly podcast. Failing to protect the EU's external borders would jeopardise free movement of people which is the basis for the bloc's wealth, Merkel added. ?AFP, REUTERS