【VIDEO】Syria's civil war: At least 30,000 flee ISIL attacks

At least 30,000 civilians have fled fighting between armed groups and rebel factions in northern Syria in the last 48 hours, according to Human Rights Watch.

The US-based watchdog group made the announcement on Friday while calling on Turkey to open its border to the civilians.

It also accused Turkish border guards of shooting at some of those displaced in Aleppo province as they approached the frontier.

Turkey has denied the accusation. 

 

HRW said many of those who fled were residents of emergency camps set up along the border and decided to head for other camps or nearby towns and villages even though they were still unsafe due to fighting between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group and opposition rebels.

 

 

"Civilians were trying to flee but some were met with gunfire or told they will not be able to enter," Nadim Houry, deputy director of Human Rights Watch Middle East and North Africa division, told Al Jazeera from Beirut in neighbouring Lebanon.

"Those people need to be allowed with safety. The whole world is talking about fighting ISIS, and yet people who are escaping them are not welcomed anywhere."

Al Jazeera's Reza Sayah, reporting from Geneva in Switzerland, said a senior Turkish official had denied the claims.

"Turkey is denying accusations that its firing gunshots at refugees," he said.

"The official said that sometimes smugglers and armed men infiltrate these group of refugees, so they are firing at them and not refugees."


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The surge in violence comes as representatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime are expected in Geneva on Friday for the latest round of talks aimed at ending the war.

Outlining its bargaining position, the opposition High Negotiating Council (HNC) said it would be willing to share equally in a transitional council with the government, but repeated its rejection of a role for Assad.

Salim Mesut, spokesperson for the HNC, told Al Jazeera there was "no place for Assad" in the new set-up.

"I believe we're doing the right thing for our people," Mesut said from Geneva.

 

"The other side, the government, was forced to come here, they don't care about our people. We don't want to see any more fighting and killing. It's important that we find a solution here in Geneva.

"But there's no place for Assad or people around him who committed crimes in Syria. For us, it's important to have people who care about their own people who deserve to see an end to this nightmare."

The violence comes as escalating fighting between Russian-backed regime fighters and rebels around the provincial capital, Aleppo city, threatens a nearly seven-week ceasefire that had seen violence drop significantly.

ISIL and other armed groups are excluded from the truce.

The five-year conflict in Syria has killed more than 270,000 people and displaced half the population.

 

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