On Friday, Turkey opened its border to thousands of Kurds fleeing clashes with the “
” (IS) in neighboring Syria, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said. He added that he had given the order after receiving information that 4,000 people had arrived at the border seeking shelter.
“When our brothers from Syria and elsewhere arrive at our borders to escape death … without discrimination over religion or sect, we take them in and we will continue to take them in,” Davutoglu told reporters Friday during a trip to Azerbaijan.
On Friday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks developments in the civil war from its headquarters in London, announced that IS had seized three more villages near the town of Ayn al-Arab, “Kobani” in Kurdish, bringing to 24 the number it had taken. The attack on Kobani prompted a call by political factions for Kurdish youth in Turkey’s southeast to join the fight against IS across the border, just days after the US military had called for Syrian Kurds to help battle the group.
Early on Friday, security forces fired tear gas and water cannon at about 100 Turkish Kurds protesting in Dikmetas at the government’s refusal to take in the thousands who had massed on the other side of the border in recent days.
comes as the United States refines its plans for
, which has seized swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq in its quest to set up an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East. Turkey has already given shelter to more than 1.3 million Syrians, and officials fear that hundreds of thousands more could seek to cross the 900-kilometer (550-mile) border as fighting escalates.
“The entries have started now,” Davutoglu told reporters. “The number might increase. Their needs will be met. This is a humanitarian mission.”
Turkey’s welcoming of Syrians fleeing violence by IS comes as France has launched airstrikes
. In Germany, Muslims are holding
against IS and other forms of extremism in the name of Islam.
mkg/glb (Reuters, AFP)