Turkish President Recep Erdogan has threatened to flood Europe with millions of migrants following criticism by Europe about the Turkish invasion of Syria.
In a scathing speech, Erdogan threatened to send all 3.6 million migrants living in Turkey into any European countries that refer to the Turkish invasion of Syria as an “occupation.”
“We will open the gates and send 3.6 million refugees your way,” Erdogan said in speech to lawmakers, according to Reuters.
Telegraph.co.uk reports: He added that Islamic State prisoners held by Kurdish forces would be kept in jail or returned to home countries willing to take them.
The comments came as a Syrian human rights group said up to 100,000 civilians have been displaced by fighting since Turkey launched its offensive with shelling and airstrikes against Kurdish strong points and cities on Wednesday afternoon.
Large convoys of civilian cars were still heading south towards the cities of Hasakah and Tel Temir in a bid to flee the fighting on Thursday morning.
The Syrian Red Crescent said five civilians had been killed and 25, including six children, injured by 9 pm on Wednesday.
Turkey, which says it wants to create a “safe zone” on the Syrian side of the border, said it had seized all its designated objective for the first day and that the operation continued to go as planned.
“Our heroic commandos taking part in Operation Peace Spring are continuing to advance east of the Euphrates (river),” the Defence Ministry wrote on Twitter. “The designated targets were seized,” it said in a later statement.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said they had repulsed a Turkish attack on the city of Tel Abyad and said claims Turkey had made any advance east the the Euphrates were false.
A spokesman for the National Army, a Turkish-backed Syrian rebel group, said its fighters were moving towards both cities in support of the Turkish army, but denied SDF reports of heavy clashes near Tel Abyad.
Witnesses said there was shelling around Ras al Ain, also known as Sani Kani, the border town that appears to be a key Turkish objective for the campaign.