The crowd of mostly women and children gathered behind a barbed wire barrier along the border opposite the Turkish village of Dikmetas, 12 miles from the city. More were arriving on foot from nearby villages, carrying possessions in sacks.
Turkish security forces did not allow them to cross the border until Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu gave permission.
“When our brothers from Syria and elsewhere arrive at our borders to escape death … without discrimination over religion or sect, we take them in and we will continue to take them in,” he claimed. Isis gains highlighted the plight of Syria’s Kurds, who have been some of the most successful against the Isis extremists. But, unlike US-backed Iraqi Kurds, they are still largely on their own in a devastated country.
The main Kurdish force in Syria, known as the People’s Protection Units or YPK, is viewed with suspicion by Syrian rebels and their Western supporters because of suspected links to President Bashar Assad’s government. Nato member Turkey is also wary of the group, which it claims is affiliated with the Kurdish PKK.
The US and its allies say the Kurdish alliance is fighting alongside the Assad government. And the US doesn’t want to upset Turkey. While the US and its allies accelerate weapons deliveries to Iraqi Kurds, Syrian Kurds have been largely dismissed and ignored.
The US military has conducted 176 airstrikes in Iraq since August 8. And France conducted its first airstrikes in Iraq yesterday.
Four airstrikes hit a munitions and fuel depot. US General Martin Dempsey stressed that France wouldn’t go beyond airstrikes in support of the Iraqi military or Kurdish Peshmerga forces — and wouldn’t attack targets in Syria. Syrian Kurds were unsurprisingly bitter about the lack of assistance. “There are double standards. They are looking for allies who serve them.
“They are not looking for real allies,” said Nasser Haj Mansour, an official at the defence office in Syria’s Kurdish region.