Thousands of people have fled fierce fighting in northern Syria between Islamic State (ISIL) militants and Syrian Kurdish fighters. They were heading to seek refuge in Turkey.
Clashes broke out after civilians on the Turkish side attacked Turkish authorities who refused to allow their relatives cross the border.
“The people on the other side are our cousins, aunts, etc. They are running away from war and they came here to seek shelter. Until now, nobody came here to let them in,” said one Kurdish citizen living in Turkey.
Turkish authorities asked the displaced people to return to the northern Kurdish region of Kobani, 15 kilometres from the border with Turkey.
Bahattin Sefkat, a Syrian refugee, explained more about the situation he was escaping from.
“Islamic State tanks attacked our village. They shelled our homes. We could hear the tanks as we fled. ISIL soldiers entered our village,” he said.
“We turned around and looked at our village from a distance to see it was on fire, our houses were on fire,” added Sefkat.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks developments in the war, said on Friday ISIL had seized 24 villages.
Turkey is already sheltering more than 1.3 million Syrian refugees. It fears hundreds of thousands more could seek to cross as fighting escalates.
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