As ISIS continues to grab land and key towns across Syria and Iraq, thousands of Kurdish Syrians are fleeing their country with the hopes of finding safety in the neighboring country, Turkey.
There has already been an influx of Syrian refugees since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in 2011. This early conflict caused over one million Syrians to seek shelter in Turkey over the past few years. However, fears of ISIS have caused the single largest exodus of Syrians to Turkey in recent history at 130,000 Kurdish refugees over the past few days. Most of these refugees are women and children trying not to get caught in the crossfire.
Fears have risen in Syria as ISIS has tightened its grip on the town of Kobane, or Ayn al-Arab, according to BBC. Kobane is a border town in the northern region of Syria near Turkey, and has been a contributing member of the movement to establish a Kurdish nation in the region.
Kurdish political leaders in Turkey are calling on their brethren in the southeast of the country along the border to help defend their country from the progress of ISIS forces, according to Reuters. These same political leaders also spoke out against ISIS, likening the actions of ISIS to “genocide.”
“They are going into the villages and cutting off the heads of one or two people and showing them to the villagers,” said Ibrahim Binici, a member of the pro-Kurdish HDP party in Syria. “It is truly a shameful situation for humanity.”
The minister of Turkey, Numan Kurtulmus, also commented on the influx of refugees, saying according to the Huffington Post, “This is not a natural disaster… what we are faced with is a man-made disaster… a refugee wave that can be expressed by hundreds of thousands.”