Turkey has closed a border crossing on the Syrian frontier, preventing Syrian refugees from returning to their hometown of Tal Abyad where they had fled Takfiri ISIL terrorists' attacks.
Turkish security forces said on Thursday that Syrian refugees were not permitted to cross the Akcakale gate due to the alleged closure of the crossing on the other side of the border by fighters of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), AFP reported.
However, YGP, which currently controls Tal Abyad, rejected Turkish officials’ claims, blaming the border closure on Ankara.
"From our point of view, the border is open... It's the Turks who closed the border from their side," YPG spokesman Redur Khali told AFP in the Lebanese capital city of Beirut.
Khali further noted that Syrian refugees were continuing to return home through unofficial crossing points.
Syrians wait with their belongings to cross back to the border town of Tal Abyad at the Turkish border post of Akcakale in the province of Sanliurfa, June 17, 2015. (© AP)
The remarks came as witnesses said they had been told that the Akcakale gate would not open until June 22.
A 60-year-old refugee, identified as Emine, said he came to the border gate to cross into Tel Abyad on Thursday morning, but he was not allowed through.
"Today we came to the gate hoping we can cross into Tal Abyad, I have been waiting since 7:00 am in the morning but they are not letting us in," Emine said.
The YPG fighters and their allies managed to recapture the strategic town on June 16 after several days of fighting with the ISIL militants. Fierce fighting in the town forced more than 23,000 people from their homes.
Fighters from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) hold their movement flags near the Turkish border post of Akcakale in the province of Sanliurfa, June 15, 2015. (© AFP)
Tal Abyad’s recapture has dealt a major blow to the ISIL terrorists, who have used the town for smuggling foreign militants and supplies into Syria.
According to a newly-released UN-ordered report titled, “Syria: Alienation and Violence, Impact of the Syria Crisis,” more than three million Syrians have left their country since the beginning of foreign-sponsored crisis in 2011.
Turkey, along with Western states and their Arab allies, has contributed to the rise of ISIL by sponsoring the militants fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.