22 Sep 2014

Kurds pour into Turkey from Syria

8:30 pm on 22 September 2014

Turkey has begun to close some of its border crossings with Syria after about 130,000 Kurdish refugees entered the country during the past two days.

A Syrian Kurdish refugee waits after crossing the border into Turkey.

A Syrian Kurdish refugee waits after crossing the border into Turkey. Photo: AFP

On Sunday, Turkish security forces clashed with Kurds protesting in solidarity with the refugees. Some protesters were reportedly trying to go to Syria to fight Islamic State (IS).

Most refugees are from Kobane, a town threatened by the advancing militants, the BBC reports.

IS has taken over large swathes of Iraq and Syria in recent months.

Before the latest influx, there were already more than one million Syrian refugees in Turkey. They have fled since the start of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad three years ago.

Some of the new arrivals are being sheltered in overcrowded schools, as Turkey struggles to cope with the influx.

On Friday Turkey opened a 30km section of the border to Syrians fleeing the town of Kobane, also known as Ayn al-Arab.

But on Monday only two out of nine border posts in the area remained open, UN refugee agency UNHCR said.

IS is closing in on the predominantly Kurdish town of Kobane, having seized dozens of villages in the area in recent days.

It began the assault on Tuesday, and by Sunday militants were about 10km away, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Reports suggest that IS has used heavy weaponry, including tanks, in the attack.

The United States has said it will attack the group in Syria as part of a strategy to destroy it, though so far it has carried out air strikes against IS only in Iraq.