News / Middle East

Syrian Military Advance Forces Hundreds More into Turkey

Syrian refugees enter Turkey near the Turkish village of Guvecci, June 23, 2011
Syrian refugees enter Turkey near the Turkish village of Guvecci, June 23, 2011

Hundreds more refugees are pouring from Syria into Turkey as they try to escape advancing Syrian troops trying to crush a 3-month long political uprising. Turkey says at least 600 new refugees fled from the Syrian border town of Khirbet al-Jouz early Thursday after Syrian tanks rolled in.

Witnesses said hundreds of refugees crossed into Turkey to escape an army assault. According to residents, Syrian troops stormed the village of Managh, in a rural region just north of the commercial hub of Aleppo.

A man who claimed to be in the vicinity of Khirbet al-Jouz told al Jazeera TV that Syrian snipers were “firing willy-nilly at anything that moved."

One refugee told Reuters Television that he and his family fled in fear on Thursday as Syrian troops stormed into his village.

He says: "Today, they came to our village in the morning with 50 armored personnel carriers and a heavy machine.  They demolished our houses. There were both soldiers and police officers."

Tekin Kucukali is head of the Turkish Red Crescent Society:

"There is a state of emergency in Syria right now," he said.  "And there are refugees coming to our country from Syria.  We have accepted more of these people today. Today, around 600 people entered up to now."

Syrian government television, meanwhile, said that families “continue to return” to the nearby town of Jisr al-Shughour, which Syrian troops retook ten days ago.

President Bashar al-Assad urged refugees, in a speech Monday, to return to their homes, vowing that the government would not take revenge.

The European Union approved further sanctions against Syria Thursday, by freezing the assets of more individuals and businesses with ties to the Assad government. The EU froze the assets of 13 top Syrian officials in May.

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