A humanitarian crisis was unfolding on Syria’s border with Turkey last night as thousands of civilians fleeing fighting between Kurdish forces and Islamic State are trapped with no supplies or shelter.
On Saturday, black-clad Islamic State fighters with guns slung over their shoulders rounded up residents near the border crossing to Turkey and forced some of them back to their homes around the Syrian city of Tal Abyad. Some of the extremist militants grinned as they mingled among the refugees within sight of Turkish soldiers across the frontier.
Turkish forces, trying to stem the tide of refugees crossing into their country, fired tear gas at the crowds on Sunday, a day after they used water cannons to the same end. A Turkish official in the border town of Akçakale who oversaw refugee intake on Sunday said there were at least 20,000 Syrians from Tal Abyad and its surrounding villages waiting at the crossing, many of them children.