03:24 GMT04 April 2020
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    BELGRADE (Sputnik) - The Serbian military is ready to defend the country's border from the influx of migrants if the leadership issues such an order, Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin said on Friday in the wake of Turkey's move to open its frontier with the European Union to migrants amid a fresh escalation in Syria's Idlib province.

    "If President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief Aleksandar Vucic makes a decision that it is necessary to further secure the border or prevent any movement, the military, together with the Interior Ministry and other security services, is fully prepared to protect our border, [our] territory and prevent the entrance of any migrants", Vulin said.

    A border crisis has erupted in recent weeks amid an escalation in Syria's Idlib province, which is mostly controlled by anti-government militants and jihadists. After a strike against the terrorists carried out by the Syrian Army killed 33 Turkish servicemen, Ankara responded, claiming that its own retaliatory strike had "neutralised" at least 300 Syrian soldiers and numerous military vehicles.

    Turkish police stand by migrants camping in Edirne near the Turkish-Greek border
    © AP Photo / Emrah Gurel
    Turkish police stand by migrants camping in Edirne near the Turkish-Greek border

    Following the clashes, Turkey announced that it could no longer prevent migrants from trying to reach European countries, which violates a 2016 agreement between Brussels and Ankara. Under the accord, Turkish authorities promised to prevent the flow of refugees to the EU, while the bloc paid billions of euros Turkey to host them.

    migration, migration, Migrants, European Union, Turkey, Syria
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