Deputy Prime Minister: 45,000 Syrian Kurds Fleeing IS Cross Border Into Turkey

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Some 45,000 Syrian Kurds fleeing an advanced by the Islamic State (IS) have crossed over the border into Turkey a day after Ankara opened up its border, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Saturday.

MOSCOW, September 20 (RIA Novosti) - Some 45,000 Syrian Kurds fleeing an advanced by the Islamic State (IS) have crossed over the border into Turkey a day after Ankara opened up its border, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Saturday.

"Around 45,000 Syrian Kurds have crossed the border as of now from eight entrance points along a 30 km distance from Akcakale to Mursitpinar since we opened the border yesterday," Kurtulmus was quoted as saying by CNN Turk television.

Turkey opened up a part of its border on Friday after Kurdish civilians left their homes in fear of an IS militant attack on the northern city of Ayn al-Arab, known as Kobani in Kurdish, located on the border of Turkey. IS fighters took control of villages surrounding the town with the use of weaponry previously obtained from army warehouses in Mosul, Iraq according to Reuters. Though specific numbers are unknown, residents from some 100 villages are said to have been forces to relocated to safer areas as a result of the IS attacks.

According to an official regional update of the United Nations Refugee Agency's (UNHCR) operations in the Middle East and North Africa released on September 17, some 833,000 Syrians were registered in Turkey at the end of August 2014. However, the Turkish government estimates at least 1.15 million Syrians in the country.

Turkey has spent some $4 billion so far on aid to Syrian refugees, causing some of the country's residents to protest the displaced Syrians.

The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is a radical Sunni group, which has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, it launched attacks in northern and western Iraq later announcing the establishment of a caliphate on its conquered territories in Syria and Iraq.

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