Thousands of Syrian Kurds crossed into Turkey on Friday and Saturday, after fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seized more than 20 Kurdish villages and towns near the border in just 24 hours.
On Thursday, ISIS fighters launched an assault on Kobani, a strategically located Kurdish town in Syria roughly 6 miles from Turkey.
"They took women, girls, small children and youths as hostages but we cannot count them," Esmat al-Sheikh, head of the Kurdish forces defending Kobani, told Reuters on Friday.
As news of the attacks spread, Turkey announced that it would open the border to let amassing Syrians at the border escape into safer territory. So far, around 45,000 Syrian Kurds have arrived at the border to seek shelter, the Guardian reported.
The latest ISIS assault came two days after a top U.S. military officer predicted that the Syrian opposition would not be able to defeat ISIS without the help of Syrian Kurds, Reuters reported.
The attack on Kobani also prompted some Kurdish rebel leaders in Turkey to urge followers to go fight against ISIS in Syria. The Kurds inhabit large areas in southeast Turkey and northern Syria, further complicating regional alliances.