100,000 Syrian refugees have flooded into neighboring Turkey as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continue to force a stranglehold on the region. Yesterday, Guardian Liberty Voice reported that the movements of ISIS toward Ayn al-Arab had forces 60,000 Kurdish Syrians to cross over the border in fear for their lives and less than 24 hours later, that number has exploded.
According to Fuat Oktay, Turkey’s head of disaster management agency, the exodus of Syrians to Turkey has been growing since Thursday as the Islamic State continues to attempt to gain a major foothold in the region. Earlier, the number had grown from 60,000 to 70,000 according to the United Nations (UN) refugee agency. The 70,000 were believed to be the count crossing the border in a 24 hour period. However, the exit of Syrians to Turkey has been taking place over the last three and a half years and the total number is actually closer to 1.5 million Syrians who have escaped to Turkey.
Authorities in Syria’s neighboring country were prepared for the rapid increase in refugees, according to Dogan Eskinat, spokesman for the Turkish disaster management agency. Eskinat indicated that his country is ready for even more Syrian’s, stating his country was already prepared for the worse.
A great number of the 100,000 Syrian refugees crossing the Turkish border are ethnic Kurds, desperate to escape the oncoming ISIS forces. The number is expected to continue to grow as the fighting between Kurdish fighters and the Islamic militants broke out closer to Ayn al-Arab than previously before. According to Nasser Haj Mansour of the defense office in the Kurdish region of Syria, ISIS has mowed through villages and started targeting the civilians who are fleeing the country.
While so many refugees were entering Turkey, officials were forced to close the border in Kucuk Kendirciler to prevent Turkish Kurds from entering Syria. Local police reported that this was in an attempt to keep Turkish Kurd fighters from going after the Islamic State terrorists. On Saturday, hundreds of Kurdish fighters entered Syria less than two miles from Ayn al-Arab.
Wile the exodus saw great numbers over the last four to five days, the Syrians that are attempting to escape ISIS has actually been taking place for a lot longer. A Syrian Kurdish refugee, Mohammed Osman Hamme told reporters that 10 days ago, he and his family fled his village of Dariya after hearing the Islamic terrorists were headed towards his village in the Raqqa province. After walking for the first three days of their 10 day journey, signs of ISIS were evident. Going past the town of Tal Abyad, the family, and other refugees saw severed heads displayed on the streets of the town.
The Syrian refugees forced into Turkey by ISIS is expected to grow much larger than the 100,000 that have already crossed the border. As long as the Islamic State continues their violent rampage through the region, the numbers will grow. The events happening in the region may accelerate the plans of the United States and NATO along with allies in the region to move forward more quickly with a plan to stop ISIS and end their terroristic actions before more civilians are brutally murdered.
By Carl Auer