KILIS, Turkey — Turkey has reached the end of its “capacity to absorb” refugees but will continue to take them in, the deputy premier said Sunday, as his country faced mounting pressure to open its border to tens of thousands of Syrians who have fled a government onslaught.

The United Arab Emirates, meanwhile, joined Saudi Arabia in saying that it was open to the idea of sending ground troops to Syria to battle the Islamic State, raising the possibility of even greater foreign involvement in the five-year-old civil war.

Turkish authorities say up to 35,000 Syrians have massed along the border, which remained closed for a third day Sunday. The governor of the Turkish border province of Kilis said Saturday that Turkey would provide aid to the displaced within Syria, but would only open the gates in the event of an “extraordinary crisis.”

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told CNN-Turk television that Turkey is now hosting a total of 3 million refugees, including 2.5 million Syrians.

“Turkey has reached the end of its capacity to absorb (refugees),” Kurtulmus said. “But in the end, these people have nowhere else to go. Either they will die beneath the bombings and Turkey will … watch the massacre like the rest of the world, or we will open our borders.”

Kurtulmus said some 15,000 refugees from Syria were admitted in the past few days. He put the number of refugees being cared for on the other side of the border at 30,000.


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