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Refugee crisis developing on Turkey border
September 21, 2014, 8:48 pm

Kurdish regional government President Masoud Barzani indicated his forces would protect Kurds from Islamic State fighters in Syria [Xinhua]

Kurdish regional government President Masoud Barzani indicated his forces would protect Kurds from Islamic State fighters in Syria [Xinhua]


United Nations relief agencies have warned that another refugee crisis is developing along the Syria-Turkey border as at least 70,000 people, mostly Kurds, flee a military campaign launched by the extremist Islamic State (IS – or ISIL).

Over the weekend, the Islamist militant group seized some 60 villages in Syria’s northeast using US-manufactured heavy weapons seized from Iraqi forces in that country’s Nineveh province.

Turkey reported that tens of thousands of Kurdish refugees had streamed over its borders in the past four days.

Masoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq, said that he could not stand by and allow Kurds to be killed and displaced from their homes.

IS “threaten the whole entirety of the Kurdish nation and it has targeted the honor, dignity and existence of our people,” he said in a speech on Saturday.

Hundreds of Kurdish peshmerga fighters have reportedly crossed the Iraqi border to evacuate remaining refugees and have apparently already clashed with IS fighters in Syria.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says it has received reports that 18 IS fighters have been killed in gun battles with Kurdish forces.

The recent gains by IS fighters may work in US President Barack Obama’s favor as he rallies regional support for a coalition to defeat the Islamist extremists.

Obama says that arming Syrian anti-government fighters to take on IS is crucial to the latter’s defeat.

On September 18, the US Senate gave congressional approval to a plan proposed by Obama earlier in the week to provide arms and training to Syrian rebels considered “moderate” in a bid to weaken the Islamic State’s power there and in Iraq.

Source: Agencies

 

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