Turkey has promised it will not turn away Syrian refugees fleeing unrest in their country.
A large group has already fled into southern Turkey, amid fears the Syrian military plans to retaliate over the reported deaths of scores of security forces.
Damascus accuses armed groups of the killings in the town of Jisr al-Shughour; local residents claim there was a mutiny among soldiers and police sent to stop anti-government demonstrations.
The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said: “At this point it is out of the question for Turkey to close its doors to refugees coming from Syria. The recent developments are very sad.”
Amid the differing accounts over the killing of the Syrian security forces, Prime Minister Erdogan called on Damascus to show what he calls more tolerance towards its citizens.
One man said on euronews he was fleeing Jisr al-Shughour and nobody was staying. He says it would be a disaster if the army entered the town. “It would mean an escalation in the unrest and people are scared of what will happen next,” he said.
That alarm is also being echoed in capitals around the world, with more than a thousand people killed since popular unrest began in Syria three months ago.