Turkey has tightened security and closed some border crossings with Syria after around 130,000 Kurdish refugees entered the country over the past 48 hours.

The majority of the refugees have come from the Syrian frontier town of Kobane, also known as Ayn al-Arab, which has been encircled by Islamic State militants in recent days.

Militants are targeting Kobane as it remains a geographically city that has held out against Sunni extremism, becoming an area of weakness within the large swathes of territory the Islamic State has taken over in recent months.

The quick progress made by Islamic State militants has led for Kurds to renew their calls for international intervention in Syria and Iraq.

On Saturday, Turkey opened a 30km section of the border with Syria to help the fleeing Kurds escape the advancing Islamic State militants. However, the UN’s refugees agency (UNHCR) has said that only two out of the nine border crossings in the area remain open on Monday.

The new refugees join more than one million Syrian refugees already in Turkey, who have fled the fighting in Syria since the uprising against Bashar al-Assad broke out three years ago.

Kurds have been historically suspicious of Turkey, after a decades-long armed struggle between the Turkish military and Kurdish PKK fighters looking to create an independent Kurdistan.

Turkey has opened its borders to Kurds fleeing the fighting, but tensions have grown as Turkey, like other neighbouring states, struggles to deal with the huge numbers of refugees within its borders.

On Sunday, Turkish security forces clashed with protesting Kurds, some of whom were reportedly attempting to return to Syria to take up arms against the Islamic State.



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