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130,000 Kurds flee to Turkey

By Agencies in Mursitpinar, Turkey | China Daily | Updated: 2014-09-23 08:03

No sign that US will expand air campaign on ISdespite appeals

Turkey said on Monday that about 130,000 people have flooded across its border from Syria fleeing an advance by Islamic State jihadists on a strategic Kurdish border town.

The massive influx comes as jihadists advance toward Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane to the Kurds, Syria's third-largest Kurdish town.

Jihadists have seized dozens of villages in their advance, and there have been reports of executions in areas now under their control.

Syrian opposition officials and Kurdish activists have called for international intervention, but there has been no sign yet of Washington expanding its air campaign in Iraq to Syria.

The Islamic State group has seized large parts of Syria and Iraq, declared an Islamic "caliphate" in areas under its control and committed widespread atrocities, including beheadings and crucifixions.

The Islamic State advance toward Ain al-Arab began at night on Sept 16, with the militants swiftly gaining ground, prompting a mass exodus to the Turkish border.

Ankara has opened its door to the fleeing Syrian Kurds, with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus saying on Monday that the number of arrivals is now more than 130,000.

The refugees crossing the border, the vast majority of them from Syria's Kurdish minority, described their terror as Islamic State militants seized their villages.

Terror of refugees

"They said in the mosques that they could kill all Kurds between 7 and 77 years old," said Sahab Basravi, a refugee.

"So we collected our things and left immediately."

The Islamic State group hopes to seize Ain al-Arab to secure its grip over a long stretch of Syria's northern border with Turkey.

Across the border in Turkey, the PKK Kurdish rebel group called on Kurds to cross into Syria to help battle the Islamic State group.

It urged "mobilization", a pro-Kurdish news agency reported, saying: "The day of glory and honor has arrived."

Turkey, the United States and the European Union consider the PKK a "terrorist" group, although Ankara entered peace talks with the organization two years ago that have now stalled.

The group has joined forces with Kurdish units fighting the Islamic State group in both Iraq and now Syria.

Syria's opposition National Coalition and Kurdish officials and activists have urged Washington and other members of an anti-Islamic State coalition to intervene, including with air attacks.

But while Washington has said it will consider strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria, even without permission from Damascus, its UN envoy said on Sunday "no decisions" have been made.

In a statement posted online on Monday, Islamic State spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani said Muslims should seek out and kill Westerners whose countries have joined the coalition, in particular US citizens and the French, after their countries carried out attacks in Iraq.

AFP - AP - Xinhua

 130,000 Kurds flee to Turkey

A Turkish soldier stands guard as Syrian refugees wait to cross the border into Suruc, Turkey, on Sunday. Turkey opened its border on Saturday to allow in up to 130,000 people who massed there after they fled the Islamic militants' advance.  Burhan Ozbilici / Associated Press


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