Syria refugees flood to Turkey
Kucuk Kendirciler, Turkey — The 19-year-old Kurdish militant, who has been fighting the Islamic State group in Syria, brought his family across the border into Turkey to safety Sunday. But in the tranquility of a Turkish tea garden just miles from the frontier, Dalil Boras vowed to head back after nightfall to continue the fight.
Pulling a wad of Syrian bills from his pocket, the young fighter — who has already lost a 17-year-old brother to the Islamic militants’ brutal advance — said that if the Turkish border guards tried to stop him, money would persuade them.
Boras and his relatives are among some 100,000 Syrians, mostly Kurds, who have flooded into Turkey since Thursday, escaping an Islamic State offensive that has pushed the conflict nearly within eyeshot of the Turkish border.
The al-Qaida breakaway group, which has established an Islamic state, or caliphate, ruled by its harsh version of Islamic law in territory it captured straddling the Syria-Iraq border, has in recent days advanced into Kurdish regions of Syria that border Turkey, where fleeing refugees on Sunday reported atrocities that included stonings, beheadings and the torching of homes.
On Sunday, heavy clashes broke out between the Islamic State militants and Kurdish fighters only miles from the Syrian border town of Kobani, where the Islamic State group was bombarding villagers with tanks, artillery and multiple rocket launchers, said Nasser Haj Mansour, a defense official in Syria’s Kurdish region.
“They are even targeting civilians who are fleeing,” Haj Mansour told The Associated Press.
At a border crossing where Turkish authorities were processing the refugees, Osman Abbas said he and 20 relatives were fleeing a village near Kobani when Islamic State fighters shot one of his sons. The 35-year-old had tried to return to their home to recover valuables while the rest of the family fled.
“They took our village, they took our house, they killed my son,” Abbas said. “I saw it with my own eyes.”
As refugees flooded in, Turkey closed the border crossing at Kucuk Kendirciler to Turkish Kurds in a move aimed at preventing them from joining the fight in Syria. A day earlier, hundreds of Kurdish fighters had poured into Syria through the small Turkish village, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Clashes broke out as Kurds trying to approach the crossing from inside Turkey scuffled with security forces.
Despite the huge number of new refugees, Turkish authorities said they were ready to deal with the influx.
The conflict has pushed more than a million Syrians over the border in the past 3 ½ years.
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