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Smoke billowing over the village of Qmenas on March 1 following a Russian airstrike. Photo: Ibrahim Yasouf/AFP via Getty Images

Syrian state media said on Sunday that Turkish forces downed two of its warplanes over Idlib, after Syria destroyed a Turkish drone and announced it was closing its airspace over the northwest region, AP reports.

Why it matters: Tensions are continuing to escalate between NATO ally Turkey and the Syrian regime, which is backed by Russia and has been conducting a deadly offensive in the last rebel-held areas of Idlib.

  • The result thus far has been the darkest chapter of Syria’s brutal nine-year civil war, with a massive humanitarian crisis threatening to collide with a dangerous geopolitical showdown.

The big picture: With hundreds of thousands of desperate Syrian refugees fleeing toward the Turkish border, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Saturday he would open Turkey's border with Europe — claiming that his country cannot sustain more than the 3.6 million Syrian refugees it already hosts.

  • At least 13,000 refugees had amassed on Turkey's border with Greece on Sunday, according to the UN.
  • “Europe and others must take robust action to address this monumental challenge," a Turkish spokesman told AP. "We can’t be expected to do this on our own.”
  • Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted Sunday that the country will not accept asylum applications for one month, and that it will invoke a special provision in a key EU treaty to "ensure full European support."

Go deeper: Syria's darkest chapter

Editor's note: This story has been updated with news that Greece will turn away asylum seekers.

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
2 hours ago - Sports

College football gone mad

Former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly walks in front of his players. Photo: David Madison/Getty Images

In the span of two days, the head coaches of two of the biggest college football programs in America have jumped ship, wooed by even greater challenges — and the almighty dollar.

Driving the news: Lincoln Riley is ditching Oklahoma for USC in a deal reportedly worth $110 million. LSU poached Brian Kelly from Notre Dame with a reported 10-year, $100 million contract.

Biden administration makes first move on data privacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration is launching its first big effort on privacy policy by looking at how data privacy issues affect civil rights.

Why it matters: An administration perspective on privacy policy could be key in developing a long-awaited national privacy law by putting the White House stamp on how to regulate privacy.

Axios Investigates

Exclusive: Airbnb hosts Xinjiang rentals on land owned by sanctioned group

Data: Axios research, Airbnb, Australia Strategic Policy Institute's International Cyber Policy Centre; Map: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Airbnb has more than a dozen homes available for rent in China's Xinjiang region on land owned by an organization sanctioned by the U.S. government for complicity in genocide and forced labor, an Axios investigation has found.

Why it matters: The listings expose Airbnb to regulatory risk under U.S. law. They also land yet another American tech company in the crossfire between the U.S. and China.

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