Thursday, September 25, 2014

Amid a Maze of Alliances, Syrian Kurds Find a Thorny Refuge at the Border

SEPT. 24, 2014

SURUC, Turkey — Turkish tanks dot the hills here, guarding against Islamic State militants advancing just across the Syrian border. Lines of police officers fan out across fields, brandishing shields to stem the flow of Syrian Kurds fleeing the militants.

Tear gas mixes with wind-blown dirt as the police disperse refugees desperate to get into Turkey and Turkish Kurds trying to help them. The police also clash with Kurdish men equally desperate to cross in the opposite direction — Turkish and Syrian citizens bound for Syria to defend the Kurdish enclave of Kobani from an Islamic State assault.

Refugees who make it to Turkey sit on dry, loose earth, unsure where to find shelter as a hot wind whips grit into their faces. Behind a border fence, thousands have waited for days, some with herds of sheep and goats, which they say are in danger of dying of thirst.

The chaos on this one small stretch of the border illustrates the complexity of the conflict into which the United States is now inserting itself far more forcibly than ever before during three years of Syrian civil war.

(More here.)


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