New clashes erupt at Syrian-Turkish border as 130k refugees flee
Clashes have resumed at the Syria-Turkey border, where thousands of Syrian Kurds have been trying to escape from the advance of the Islamic State fighters on their towns.
The turmoil on Monday was filmed by RT’s Ruptly video agency, currently at the scene.
“Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds have fled through the border which the Turkish government opened on Friday – it’s now closed again. There are a few Kurdish families waiting for the last couple of days to get in, in the blazing heat with no food and no water,” Ruptly’s Lizzie Phelan reported from the site.
“There are also Syrian Kurds and Turkish Kurds [on the Turkish side of the border] who want to go into Syria, because – as they say – they want to form a human shield against an IS advance on Kobani, as there is a lot of fear that if IS do take over Kobani, which is a city of 45,000 people, there will be a renewed exodus,” Lizzie Phelan reported.
Turkish authorities briefly closed the border on Sunday, after clashes broke out between security forces and protesters, who had rallied in support of the refugees.
The number of Syrian Kurds who have crossed the border into Turkey over the last several days, escaping from Islamic State fighters, has exceeded 130,000, according to the latest estimate by Turkish authorities.
The figure was given by Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus, who believes the number of refugees is likely to grow.
“If ISIL [Now the Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL] attacks continue in the Kobane region, Turkey may face an intensive influx,” Kurtulmus told reporters in Ankara, according to AFP.
“The border is not being closed to refugees per se, it is being managed. This is to ensure the civilian nature of asylum,” Ariane Rummery, Senior Communications Officer of the UN Refugee Agency, told RT. She added that the “management” is a three-stage process, including a security screening, a health screening “where people can get vaccinations,” and a registration process.
“I think it’s very important that the international community share the burden and give any support they can to the hosting communities. We have to remember that comparatively small numbers of refugees do move further afield to Europe and so on, so we need open borders all around in Europe and not just in the neighboring countries,” Rummery told RT, adding that it’s not just Turkey that needs help, but also Lebanon and Jordan.
The extremist group launched an offensive on Kurd-populated areas of northern Syria on Tuesday, forcing thousands of residents to flee their homes. The Islamic State has captured at least 64 villages around the border city of Ayn al-Arab, or Kobani in Kurdish, which is home to one of the largest Kurdish communities in Syria.