The number of Syrians sheltering in Turkey has approached 12,000 after some 1500 refugees poured across the border on Thursday and Friday, officials said.
The new exodus was triggered on Thursday morning when Syrian troops backed by tanks entered a border zone where thousands fleeing a bloody crackdown on anti-regime protesters were camping, hesitant to cross to Turkey.
Turkey’s emergency situations agency said on Friday that 1578 Syrians had crossed into Turkish territory, bringing the total number to 11,739.
Fifty people, including 15 with gunshot wounds, remain in hospital, the statement said.
The Turkish Red Crescent has erected several tent cities in the border province of Hatay to shelter the refugees.
Turkish authorities continue to provide food to those who remain camping on the other side of the border, the statement said.
Crammed into a narrow strip along the Turkish frontier, the displaced Syrians have braved squalid conditions, sleeping rough or in makeshift shelters of branches and plastic sheets, surviving on scarce food and water.
They have hesitated to cross to Turkey, gripped by uncertainty over a future on foreign soil and wary of leaving their property behind.
Turkish authorities have reportedly assured them they can cross over if they felt threatened.