Syrians flee to Turkey as violence escalates

An estimated 5,000 cilivians have fled escalating violence in Syria to seek refuge in Turkey.

The Syrians have mainly been fleeing the town of Jisr al-Shughour, targeted in a government crackdown, which led to the death of at least 30 civilians.

Syria’s government says its forces went into the town to restore order after the deaths of its 120 security personnel.

Hundreds more have been killed in a crackdown in recent weeks on anti-government protests, which began in March.

The US White House had condemned Syria’s “outrageous use of violence” against the protesters and called for an “immediate end” to the violence.

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Senior Foreign Ministry official Halit Cevik said Turkey would deal with the crisis as best it could.

He said: “If they are coming, this is a humanitarian issue. We will do whatever is needed within our means.”

He added that while Turkey could cope with the crisis at the moment, it might need international help if things got worse.

But he said that the UN refugee agency would not be involved, as the Syrians involved were not seeking refuge in Turkey, as their eventual aim was to go back home.