Turkey pushes migrants into EU after Syria losses
The killing of 33 Turkish soldiers in Syria has moved the NATO ally ever closer to direct conflict with Russia.
As the two sides consider their next moves, Turkey is also pressuring its own allies by allowing the tide of migrants and refugees to cross its border into Europe once more.
Matthew Larotonda reports.
The killing of at least 33 Turkish soldiers by Syria's military -- the worst single loss for Turkish troops in decades -- is drawing the NATO member deeper into crisis with Syria's backer: Russia.
It's also threatening a new crisis with its own allies.
Fighting continued in Syria's Idlib region on Friday (February 28).
Diplomatic channels remain open, including meetings between Turkish and Russian diplomats in Ankara attempting to deescalate the situation.
But Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is also said to have told Russia's Vladimir Putin in a phone call Friday that all elements of Syria's military are considered targets, and will be hit in retaliation.
Turkey and Russia accuse each other of failing to adhere to past agreements they made to coordinate with each other's forces -- agreements designed to avert such a crisis.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL JENS STOLTENBERG, SAYING: NATO's secretary-general says the alliance stands in solidarity behind Turkey and is demanding that Russia and Syria end their offensive against the rebels Turkey supports.
However, Turkey is pressuring its NATO allies too.
It's decided to reopen its border with the European Union to allow migrants and refugees -- many from Syria -- to cross into Europe once again.
The move threatens to reignite the migrant crisis that swept Europe five years ago.
Greek police are massing on the border in an attempt to stop any crossing.
Meanwhile Turkey is also demanding what it calls "actual" support in Syria from the United States itself.
Words from President Trump aren't enough, they say.
Turkey and Russia became the dominant players in Syria after Trump's withdraw left a power vacuum there.
The war worsened dramatically afterwards.
A million people have been displaced since December, possibly the worst humanitarian disaster of the nine-year conflict.