Tue | Oct 16, 2018

Some 130,000 Syrians reach Turkey, fleeing IS

Published:Tuesday | September 23, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Several hundred Syrian refugees wait to cross into Turkey at the border in Suruc, Turkey.
Syrian refugees who just crossed the border into Turkey in Suruc, Turkey, on Sunday.

SURUC, (AP): Some 130,000 Syrian refugees fleeing the advance of Islamic State militants have crossed the border into Turkey in the past four days, Turkey's deputy prime minister said yesterday, warning that the number could rise further as the militants continue their onslaught.

Numan Kurtulmus warned that the number could rise to "a refugee wave that can be expressed by hundreds of thousands."

The refugees have been flooding into Turkey since Thursday, escaping an Islamic State offensive that has pushed the conflict nearly within sight of the Turkish border. The conflict in Syria had already pushed more than a million people over the border in the past three and a half years.

"This is not a natural disaster... What we are faced with is a man-made disaster," said Kurtulmus, adding that Turkey was taking measures to prepare.

"We don't know how many more villages may be raided, how many more people may be forced to seek refuge. We don't know," he added. "An uncontrollable force at the other side of the border is attacking civilians. The extent of the disaster is worse than a natural disaster."

The situation has raised tensions between Turkish authorities and Kurds who claim that the government is hampering their efforts to provide help to their brethren in Syria.

New clashes erupted along the border gate, near the town of Suruc, yesterday with police firing tear gas and water cannons to disperse Kurds protesting the government or demanding to reach Syria.

Suruc itself was flooded with refugees and armoured military vehicles.