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Fearful Ankara uses paintguns and gas on Kurdish Syrians

Turkish security forces fired tear gas, water and paint pellets at dozens of Kurds yesterday in the village of Kucuk Kendirciler on the border with Syria.

They claimed to have been trying to prevent Kurdish PKK fighters from entering Syria and to have been pelted with stones by Kurdish protesters.

However, the Kurds insisted that they wanted simply to take aid into Syria.

Turkish police then used armoured cars to push people back from the village.

The UN refugee agency revealed yesterday that 70,000 Syrians had crossed into Turkey in the previous 24 hours.

They were seeking refuge from Islamic State (Isis) militants who have rampaged through dozens of Kurdish villages in the Kobani area of northern Syria, near the Turkish border.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees spokeswoman Selin Unal said that most of the Kurds coming across the border near Kobani were women, children and the elderly.

She urged the international community to step up its aid for Syrian refugees in Turkey, who already number some 1.5 million.

“Turkey is assisting with all needs but it’s huge numbers,” said Ms Unal.

Hundreds of Kurdish fighters had earlier crossed the border into Syria from both Turkey and Iraq to defend Kobani from attack by Isis forces.

The large-scale displacement of so many refugees and the movement of the Kurdish fighters into Syria reflect the ferocity of the fighting in Kobani.

Civilians seeking safety

Began massing on the Turkish border on Thursday.

Turkey refused to let them in at first, saying that it would provide them with aid on the Syrian side of the border instead.

But Ankara had changed its mind by Friday and started to let in several thousand.

“Kobani is facing the fiercest and most barbaric attack in its history,” said Kurdish Democratic Union (KDU) official Mohammed Saleh Muslim.

KDU members dominate the Syrian Kurdish self-defence group YPK, which is fighting Isis.

“Kobani calls on all those who defend humane and democratic values … to stand by Kobani and support it immediately. The coming hours are decisive,” Mr Saleh said.

Iraq’s Kurdish regional president Masoud Barzani warned that the Isis attacks on the Kobani area threatened “the entirety of the Kurdish nation.”

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