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Ankara Says More Than 130,000 Syrian Kurds Have Fled To Turkey

Ankara says more than 130,000 Syrian Kurds have crossed into Turkey over the past two days as they flee an advance by Islamic State (IS) jihadists.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said September 22 in Ankara that authorities are preparing for more arrivals, including "a worst scenario" that could bring a total of hundreds of thousands of more refugees.

The influx of Syrian Kurds comes as IS fighters have seized dozens of villages near the Syrian border town of Ain al-Arab, known in Kurdish as Kobane.

Reuters quotes a spokesman for Syrian Kurdish forces as saying on September 22 that the Kurdish forces have halted the IS advance east of the town.

Redur Xelil of the main Kurdish armed group, the YPG, said the advance had been halted since the previous night.

But he said heavy clashes were still underway.

BBC has cited reports saying that the IS is using heavy weapons and artillery in its drive toward the town.

Turkey's PKK Kurdish rebel group on September 22 called on fellow Kurds to cross into Syria and combat the IS forces.

But BBC reports Turkish security forces are trying to stop Turkish Kurd fighters from entering Syria.

Security forces on September 21 closed the border crossing at Kucuk Kendirciler to Turkish Kurds.

The security forces also used used tear gas and water cannons to disperse crowds.

A day earlier, hundreds of Kurdish fighters poured into Syria through the crossing, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Ain al-Arab is the third biggest Kurdish population center in Syria.

Until the IS assault, it had been relatively safe, sheltering 200,000 people displaced from elsewhere in Syria.

Turkey was already struggling to cope with over a million Syrian refugees - before the new flood of arrivals across the border in recent days.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP