Special to WorldTribune.com
More than 5,000 refugees have fled to the Turkish border after Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) jihadists on April 14 attacked 10 camps for internally displaced people in Syria.
Reports from the scene of the attacks said some of the terrified refugees attempted to cross the Turkish border but were shot at by Turkish troops. The camps were then abandoned, with thousands of people heading towards the main border point in the area, near the town of Azaz.
“The border is supposed to be a refuge, but it is a barrier to push us back into hell,” said Abdul Aziz Rizk, who had fled the refugee camp at Iqdah. “All we want to do is get out of here.”
Turkish officials have said they will continue to refuse permission to cross to all but urgent medical cases and essential family visits.
Syrian rebels, backed by U.S. airstrikes and Turkish artillery, are battling to drive ISIL from the remaining border areas under the terror group’s control, according to American officials.
Syrian opposition forces reportedly had edged within five miles of ISIL-controlled Dabiq, a “highly symbolic village that the terror group’s leaders believe is the pre-ordained epicenter of a clash that will herald an apocalyptic showdown,” a report by the UK’s Guardian said.
Units linked to the Free Syria Army, which led the offensive, said they were not targeting Daiq and “were instead intending to push further across the north towards the town of Minbij, which lies roughly halfway between ISIL’s two largest hubs in the area, al-Bab and Raqqa,” the Guardian report said.
“We knew they would fight for Dabiq like crazy, so why bother attacking them there,” said a leader of a Syrian opposition unit. “It was never strategic for us. The east of their so-called caliphate is the target that matters.”