An estimated total of 66’000 refugees, most of whom were Syrian Kurds, have fled into Turkey over the last 24 hours following the advance of Islamic State forces.
Some 66’000 refugees have fled into Turkey, mostly Syrian Kurds, after the neighbouring country opened its border on Friday and more are expected to arrive in the coming days.. Most were fleeing the Kurdish town of Kobane, which Islamic State fighters have been rapidly approaching. The town, also known as Ayn al-Arab, is a key city on the Turkish-Syrian border and has witnessed the capture of numerous villages around it by the Islamic State.
The refugees, which join up with the estimated total of 847’000 refugees taken in by Turkey since the Syrian uprising against President Bashar al-Assad three years ago, are a sign of changing allegiances in the region to combat the Islamic State threat. Until recently Turks fought a fierce civil war with the Kurds, killing some 40’000, but the acceptance of Kurdish refugees into the country displays a change in priorities – with fighting the Islamic State taking priority.