Sunday, September 21, 2014

60,000 Syrian Kurds flee to Turkey from Islamic State advance

Turkish policemen and soldiers walk as Syrian Kurds wait behind the border fence to cross into Turkey near the
southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, September 19, 2014. Credit: REUTERS/Stringer
SURUC Turkey (Reuters) - About 60,000 Syrian Kurds fled into Turkey in the space of 24 hours, a deputy prime minister said on Saturday, as Islamic State militants seized dozens of villages close to the border.

Turkey opened a stretch of the frontier on Friday after Kurdish civilians fled their homes, fearing an imminent attack on the border town of Ayn al-Arab, also known as Kobani. A Kurdish commander on the ground said Islamic State had advanced to within 15 km (9 miles) of the town.

Local Kurds said they feared a massacre in Kobani, whose strategic location has been blocking the radical Sunni Muslim militants from consolidating their gains across northern Syria.