Signaling that a new refugee influx is about to hit Turkey, Turkish Deputy PM Kurtulmuş said that Syrian Kurds fleeing Kobani have no other permanent friends than Turkey
Referring to the indifference of the international community with regard to providing shelter for the refugees, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said Syrian Kurds fleeing Kobani have no "permanent friends" other than Turkey, Kurtulmuş responded to a private news channel reporter's question on the issue of thousands of refugees being driven into Turkish territory due to assaults by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) whose offensive continues in the north Syrian city of Kobani.
Turkey is continuing to open its doors to war-torn Syrian refugees providing them with shelter as well as various other aid supplies. Kurtulmuş, highlighting the significance of the hand Turkey extends to the Syrian refugees who flee the ferocity of ISIS attacks, claimed that Turkey was the only genuine supporter of Syrian Kurds, deeming other international support "temporary." "Turks are the only friends of displaced Syrian Kurds." Kurtulmuş was quoted as saying.
ISIS militants attacked the Kurdish town of Kobani more than a week ago after months of nearby fighting. Reportedly 142,000 Syrians have fled the town and surrounding villages since Sept. 18 to cross the nearby Turkish border. The influx of more than 140,000 Kurds since last week has raised worries for the country where the conflict in Syria has already forced over 1.3 million people to take shelter in Turkey.
Responding to a reporter's question over Turkey's demand for a buffer-zone, Kurtulmuş said that it requires the approval of the U.N. adding that a buffer-zone would halt ISIS from freely advancing in the region.
The buffer-zone issue was also brought up at the U.N. General Assembly. Ankara hopes that the presence of a buffer-zone will strengthen the Syrian opposition, prevent militants from threatening Turkey and help deliver immediate humanitarian aid to civilians in the region. The demand was given a cold shoulder by Russia, which holds a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, and is waiting for approval from the U.N. Kurtulmuş, also recalling that the refugees taking shelter in Turkey were grateful for being able to find refuge in the country, said the refugees told authorities they were content with the good conditions set up for them. Kurtulmuş said they were prepared for the worst case scenarios and signaled that a new wave of refugees is about to cross into Turkey.
Meanwhile, more than 1,000 Kurdish refugees crossed the Mürşitpınar gate back to neighboring Kobani on Wednesday despite the danger posed by ISIS militants, according to one eyewitness.
One refugee told reporters on Wednesday night that they were miserable even though their relatives in Turkey were trying to shelter them. "Although life-threatening danger is present over there, we want to go back," she said while waiting in front of the border gate with her eight family members.
Their appeal was turned down by the Turkish Army, which blocked the crossing for the rest of the day until this morning. Speaking by the border crossing today was mother-of-eight Selma Shekhmuz. She said, "We don't have enough money to survive. Life is expensive here. We took shelter in Kobani two years ago after leaving Damascus. We are scared but we do not have any other option. I have been here for the last six days."
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