Thousands of Syrian Kurds flee to Turkey after Islamic State attacks

Thousands of Syrian Kurds have fled to Turkey since Friday after Islamic State fighters attacked dozens of villages, and are said to be planning attacks on a north Syrian border town, according to a Reuters report.

About 60,000 residents have left their homes as Islamic State fighters moved closer to the town of Kobani. The Islamic State group was said to be within six miles of the town on Saturday.

The Islamic State has killed at least 11 Kurdish civilians in the villages it has invaded near Kobani, with more than 300 Kurdish fighters having crossed into Syria from Turkey late Friday to help deter the jihadists, according to Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“Islamic State sees Kobani like a lump in the body,” Abdulrahman told Reuters. “They think it is in their way.”

Kurdish forces have evacuated at least 100 villages since the attacks began on Tuesday, with the region’s Kurds fearing a massacre in Kobani.

A farmer who crossed into Turkey said the Islamic State attacked his village, Celebi, with heavy weapons as Kurdish forces attempted to fight them off with light arms, Reuters reported.

“Clashes started in the morning and we fled by car,” said farmer Lokman Isa in an interview with Reuters. “We were 30 families in total.”

As of Saturday night, officials said thousands more were still waiting to cross the border into Turkey.