#AceNewsServices – SYRIA – September 21 – Some 60,000 Syrian Kurds have crossed into Turkey in the past 24 hours, fleeing Islamic State (IS) militants who are advancing on dozens of villages close to the border.
Turkish soldiers stand guard as Syrian Kurds cross the border fence into Turkey near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, September 19, 2014. (Reuters)
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Turkey opened a stretch of the border on Friday after Kurds fled their homes, fearing an attack on the border town of Ayn al-Arab, a Kurdish commander on the ground said.
Local Kurds also said they fear a massacre in Kobani, whose strategic location has been blocking the militants from gaining more power in northern Syria.
“Kobani is facing the fiercest and most barbaric attack in its history,” Mohammed Saleh Muslim, the head of Syria’s powerful Kurdish Democratic Union, told AP.
Syrian Kurds carry their belongnings near the Syrian border at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, on September 20, 2014. (AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic)
Lokman Isa, a 34-year-old farmer who escaped with his family, told Reuters: “They [Islamic State] have destroyed every place they have gone to. We saw what they did in Iraq in Sinjar and we fled in fear.”
He added that Kurdish forces fighting against the radical group have only light weapons.
The Islamic State militants are known to be using rockets, artillery, tanks, and armoured vehicles.
Syrian Kurds wait near Syria border at the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, on September 20, 2014 (AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic)
“I would have fought to my last drop of blood against Islamic State but I had to bring the women and children,”Mustafa Saleh, a 30 year-old water industry worker, said.
“The United States, Turkey, Russia, friendly countries must help us. They must bomb Islamic State. All they can do is cut off heads, they have nothing to do with Islam,” he added.
Meanwhile, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said that 60,000 people have crossed the 30-kilometre stretch of open border since Friday.
At least 100 villages have been evacuated since Tuesday, when the assault began. Since then, over 300 Kurdish fighters have come to Syria from Turkey to fight against the militants.
Eleven Kurdish civilians, including boys, were executed in the villages near Kobani, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.