back to top
World

ISIS Attack In Syria Forces 45,000 To Flee To Turkey

"They took women, girls, small children and youths as hostages but we cannot count them," a Kurdish fighter told Reuters.

Posted on

Thousands of Syrian Kurds crossed into Turkey on Friday and Saturday, after fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seized more than 20 Kurdish villages and towns near the border in just 24 hours.

On Thursday, ISIS fighters launched an assault on Kobani, a strategically located Kurdish town in Syria roughly 6 miles from Turkey.

Stringer/Turkey / Reuters

A Turkish soldier stands guard as Syrian Kurds cross the border fence into Turkey near the southeastern town of Suruc on Sept. 19.

"They took women, girls, small children and youths as hostages but we cannot count them," Esmat al-Sheikh, head of the Kurdish forces defending Kobani, told Reuters on Friday.

Stringer/Turkey / Reuters

Turkish soldiers stand guard as Syrian Kurds wait behind the border fence to cross into Turkey on Sept. 19.

Advertisement

As news of the attacks spread, Turkey announced that it would open the border to let amassing Syrians at the border escape into safer territory. So far, around 45,000 Syrian Kurds have arrived at the border to seek shelter, the Guardian reported.

The latest ISIS assault came two days after a top U.S. military officer predicted that the Syrian opposition would not be able to defeat ISIS without the help of Syrian Kurds, Reuters reported.

Stringer/Turkey / Reuters

A Turkish soldier stands guard as Syrian Kurds wait behind the border fence to cross into Turkey on Sept. 19.

The attack on Kobani also prompted some Kurdish rebel leaders in Turkey to urge followers to go fight against ISIS in Syria. The Kurds inhabit large areas in southeast Turkey and northern Syria, further complicating regional alliances.

Former BuzzFeed World Reporter, Current BuzzFeed News Contributor

Contact Miriam Berger at miriam.berger+done@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.