30,000 Syrians flee IS advance in northern Syria

30,000 Syrians flee IS advance in northern Syria
Tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing Islamic State group advances in northern Aleppo arrive at Turkey's closed borders.
2 min read
15 April, 2016
Islamic State group advances have left some refugee camps empty [AFP]
At least 30,000 people have fled fighting between extremists and rebels in northern Syria in the past 48 hours, Human Rights Watch said, calling on Turkey to open its border to them.

The Islamic State [IS] group overran camps of internally displaced persons [IDPs] on Thursday, forcing thousands of Syrians to flee to the Turkish border.

According to Human Rights Watch [HRW], the IS group entered the Ikdah camp on Thursday amid a flurry of gunshots, telling the camp's residents to clear the area.

"At dawn we heard gunshots near the camp. A short while later ISIS arrived and used a loudspeaker to tell us we all had to leave," an Ikdah camp resident told HRW.

"They said we had nothing to fear and that we should all go east, into IS territory. We left the camp but headed north through olive groves toward the Turkish border."

Despite the terror faced in their homeland, thousands of Syrians have arrived at the border to find the gates firmly shut, while many have also described being greeted by more violence from Turkish soldiers.

"As we approached the border wall, we saw Turkish soldiers on a hill behind the wall and they just started shooting at us," reported the camp resident.

At present, Turkey continues to turn away all Syrians fleeing their country's conflict, except those who are seriously injured.

Syria's refugee children
Around half of Syria's refugees are children [TNA]

A deal brokered between Turkey and the European Union on March 8 came with a promise that the former would, "allow for the local population and refugees to live in areas which will be safer."

Since the deal, however, Turkey has come under fire for alleged human rights abuses against Syrian refugees.

The refugee camps east of the Turkish town of Azaz once sheltered around 60,000 people. The developments of the last two days, however, have seen that number slashed by half, leaving the Ikdah, Harameen and al-Sham camps completely empty.

Since beginning in 2011, Syria's five-year civil war has displaced more than 6.5 million people within the country, and made 4.8 million people refugees.

This latest mass movement took place while talks are underway between the regime of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and opposition groups in Geneva.

On Thursday, the main opposition group, known as the High Negotiations Committee [HNC], said it would be open to sharing membership of a transitional government in Syria with existing members of Assad's government.