1,000 refugees leave Turkey, return to Syria

Eyewitnesses at Suruc border crossing in southeast Turkey report Kurdish refugees returning to Syria despite the sound of gunfire from Kobani town.

1,000 refugees leave Turkey, return to Syria

World Bulletin / News Desk

Thousands of mainly Kurdish refugees who found shelter from ISIL rebels in southeastern Turkey are returning home via the border crossing at Suruc, despite the danger posed by the Sunni extremist fighters.

The crossing to Kobani (Ayn al-Arab) has witnessed significant two-way traffic over the last two days as, although many refugees are still crossing into Turkey, some are returning home, even as the sound of gunfire from Syria could be clearly heard on Thursday morning.

Some 140,000 people have fled possible ISIL atrocities following its offensive against the mainly Kurdish town; Turkey opened its frontier to the refugees last Friday.

Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units, known as YPG, have been defending the town against the ISIL advance near the Turkish border for more than a week. Some reports claim that the insurgent attacks are as close as 10 kilometers from central Kobani.

More than 1,000 Kurdish refugees crossed the Mursitpinar gate back to neighboring Kobani on Wednesday, according to one eyewitness.

One such refugee, a woman in her fifties called Halise, told AA on Wednesday night that they were miserable even though their relatives in Turkey were trying to shelter them.

"Even though there is life-threatening danger over there, we want to go back," she said, while waiting in front of border gate with her eight other family members.

"We are sick of living here," she added.

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 told AA: “We were staying in the same place with nine other families.

“We don't have enough money to survive. Life is expensive here. We took shelter in Kobani two years ago leaving Damascus. We are scared but we do not have any other option. I have been here for the last six days.”

Mahmoud Osman Ali, 77, said: “We came here with a mass panic. They told me ISIL had not reached Kobani. I am going back alone after I sent my daughter and her seven children to Gaziantep [in Turkey]. I stayed here with my relatives.”

Speaking in Brussels on Wednesday, pro-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Union Party co-chairman Salih Muslim warned that ISIL could carry out a massacre in Kobani within hours.

The Turkish province of Suruc, which is only 10 kilometers from the Syrian border, has been transformed with the sudden and unprecedented refugee influx over the last week.

Although many of those fleeing the Syrian conflict are members of extended Kurdish families which straddle the border, many others have forced into living in harsh conditions as they fill mosques, parks and storehouses in the Turkish town.

In the meantime, thousands of Syrian refugees continue to pass through the barbed wire fences under security controls during the day.

Last Mod: 25 Eylül 2014, 10:52
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