September 21, 2014

OGAN, Turkey (AP) — Turkish security forces on Sunday fired tear gas and water on dozens of Kurds in a village on the border with Syria where tens of thousands of Syrian Kurdish refugees have streamed into Turkey to escape the fighting with militants of the Islamic State group.

Authorities temporarily closed the border and refugees were piling on the Syrian side of the frontier. There were conflicting reports as to what caused the clashes. The state-run Anadolu Agency said Kurdish protesters threw stones at the security forces who prevented dozens of Kurdish onlookers from approaching the border.

Private NTV television said the security forces preventing a group of Kurds who claimed they wanted to take aid to beleaguered Kurds in Syria. The U.N. refugee agency on Sunday said some 70,000 Syrians have crossed into Turkey in the past 24 hours. They are seeking refuge from Islamic State militants who have barreled through dozens of Kurdish villages in the Kobani area in northern Syria, near the Turkish border.

UNHCR spokeswoman, Selin Unal, told the Associated Press most of those coming across the border near Syria’s northern town of Kobani are Kurdish women, children and elderly. She urged the international community to step up its aid for Syrian refugees in Turkey, already numbering some 1.5 million.

“Turkey is assisting with all needs but it’s huge numbers,” she said.