Turkey has decided to close some of its border crossings with Syria after about 130,000 Kurdish refugees entered the country over the weekend.
On September 21, Turkish security forces clashed with Kurds protesting in solidarity with the refugees. Some protesters were reportedly trying to go to Syria to fight Islamic State (ISIS).
Most refugees are from Kobane, a town threatened by the advancing militants.
ISIS has taken over large swathes of Iraq and Syria in recent months.
Before the latest influx, there were already more than one million Syrian refugees in Turkey. They have fled since the start of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2011.
Some of the new arrivals are being sheltered in overcrowded schools, as Turkey struggles to cope with the influx.
On September 19, Turkey opened a 19-mile section of the border to Syrians fleeing the town of Kobane, also known as Ayn al-Arab.
However, on September 22, only two out of nine border posts in the area remained open, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said.
Clashes broke out on Sunday after a demonstration by Kurds on the Turkish side of the border.
Some protesters threw stones at security forces, who responded with tear gas and water cannon. There were no reports of serious injuries.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a banned militant group that fought a civil war for autonomy within Turkey for decades, has called on Kurds to join the fight against ISIS.
The Syrian conflict has reawakened old hostilities and shaken a fragile peace between Kurds and Turkish authorities.
PKK-affiliated forces have been battling IS in northern Iraq for months.
ISIS is closing in on the predominantly Kurdish town of Kobane, having seized dozens of villages in the area in recent days.
It began the assault on Tuesday, and by Sunday militants were about 6 miles away, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Reports suggest that IS has used heavy weaponry, including tanks, in the attack.
The US has said it will attack the group in Syria as part of a strategy to destroy it, though so far it has carried out air strikes against ISIS only in Iraq.
Attacking ISIS in Syria is considered more complicated, partly because of the strength of the country’s air defense system and because foreign strikes do not have the approval of President Bashar al-Assad.
President Barack Obama has previously ruled out the involvement of US ground troops, and has instead promised to provide arms and training to local forces fighting against ISIS.
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