Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday voiced support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s suggestion to build a city in northern Syria for refugees.
Speaking to Turkish news channel A Haber, Davutoglu said that since 2012 the president has pushed for the creation of a safe zone where Syrian refugees could get shelter from the five-year civil war.
"Unfortunately, as Turkey's warnings were not heeded, today we are facing a very grave refugee drama," said Davutoglu, adding that some countries later realized that Turkey was right on the issue.
The prime minister said the idea of building a city was discussed with the United States and related parties in 2015 when Daesh forces were cleared from the area between Azaz and Jarablus near Syria’s border with Turkey.
"But it was not possible due to Russia's relentless involvement [in Syria] and its conducting airstrikes on civilians."
"Now such an effort can be made between Turkey and Azaz, but for this, maintenance of the international security environment and the cessation of hostilities are important," the prime minister added.
On Friday, Erdogan suggested building a 4,500-square-meter city with help from the international community for refugees fleeing the war-torn country.
Syria has remained locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, more than 250,000 people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to UN figures.