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Syrian Kurds Cross Turkish Border in Droves as ISIS Nears Kobani

SANLIURFA, Turkey - Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds have crossed into Turkey over the past day, fleeing an advance by ISIS fighters who have seized dozens of villages close to the border, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Saturday. Turkey opened a stretch of the frontier on Friday after Kurdish civilians fled their homes, fearing an imminent attack on the Syrian border town of Ayn al-Arab, known as Kobani in Kurdish. "Around 45,000 Syrian Kurds have crossed the border as of now from eight entrance points along a 30-km distance from Akcakale to Mursitpinar since we opened the border yesterday," Kurtulmus told CNN Turk television.

ISIS' advances in northern Syria have prompted calls for help by the region's Kurds who fear an impending massacre in the town of Kobani, which sits in a strategic position on the border. Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani called on Friday for international intervention to protect Kobani from the Islamic State advance, saying the insurgents must be "hit and destroyed wherever they are."

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- Reuters