Barzani calls for protection of Kurds in Syria
Kurdish Regional Government President says world must use every means possible to protect people in Kobani

The Kurdish Regional Government President has called on the international community to protect Kurds in Kobani, Syria, who are suffering attacks by the Islamic State and the Levant militants.

Massoud Barzani made the call in a statement on Friday as fighting continued between the Islamic State and the Levant (ISIL) militants and Kurdish PYD forces in the northern Raqqa province of Kobani, which is close to the border with Turkey.

Barzani said: "I call on the international community to use every means as soon as possible to protect Kobani."

He said ISIL-led militants must be "hit and destroyed" wherever they were.

Meanwhile, thousands of Syrians gathered on the Turkish border after fleeing attacks from ISIL over the last two days began crossing into Turkey at midday on Friday.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking during a visit to Azerbaijani capital Baku, said that all Syrians, regardless of "ethnic or sectarian discrimination" would be accepted into Turkey.

- 'Helping hand'

"Because of a sudden development, our friends are trying to swiftly get organized. These, our brothers, will be settled within the shortest time possible and their needs will be met," said Davutoglu.

Turkey's new Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan said on his official Twitter account: "Our open-door policy is to extend a helping hand to oppressed people."

Syrians are now gathering in the Suruc district in the city of Sanliurfa, from where they will be transferred to an empty school building in the village of Oylum.

Syria has been plagued by near-constant fighting since the regime of Bashar al-Assad launched a violent crackdown in response to anti-government protests in March 2011.

The ensuing conflict has spiraled into a civil war and become a breeding ground for ISIL-led militants, who have since gained control of large parts of Syria and Iraq.

The U.N. has said it has stopped updating its death toll for the country as an official count has become too difficult to verify.

At least 100,000 deaths were recorded in the last official count in July 2013.

Last Modified: 2014-09-20 08:20:41
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