ANKARA, Turkey (UPDATED) – More than 130,000 Syrian Kurds have fled across the border into Turkey, escaping an advance by Islamic State jihadists, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Monday, September 22.
“The number of Syrians has passed 130,000,” he told reporters in Ankara, warning that the number would likely rise. IS extremists have seized dozens of villages in the past week as they advance on the town of Ain al-Arab, called Kobane in Kurdish, near the border.
Turkey’s emergencies ministry, the AFAD, earlier said the figure was 104,000 people and that authorities were clamping down at the border.
“The border is open, but only at one place at Mursitpinar, for better organisation of crossings,” an AFAD official said.
“A single point has been opened for displaced Syrians, so that we can do identity control and give first aid, vaccinating people if necessary,” the official said.
The UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, on Saturday said that as many as hundreds of thousands of refugees might flee the fighting.
Syrian Kurds were leaving the area around Ain al-Arab, or Kobane, as the town is known in Kurdish, which is under attack by ISIS forces.
Until now, Kobane, the third biggest Kurdish population centre in Syria, had been relatively safe and had taken in 200,000 people displaced from elsewhere in Syria. – Rappler.com