8,000 refugees cross the border from Syria into Turkey
Chaos and terror reigned near Syrian border towns, forcing thousands to flee to Turkey over a 24-hour period -- some in the dead of the night amid raging gunfire.
More than 8,000 Syrians have entered neighboring Turkey since Thursday, a Turkish foreign ministry official said Friday on condition of anonymity.
Of the thousands of refugees, 71 were injured, the official said. Two died of their wounds.
Most of the Syrians were sent to a Turkish camp in Akcakale town.
Before the new arrivals, the Turkish government had said it is hosting more than 111,000 Syrian refugees.
The clashes between Syrian government troops and opposition fighters occurred in the Ras Al Ain border town.
"We can hear the sounds of fighting. The town is very quiet today, not a lot of stores opened up," said Mayor Mehmet Saitavci of neighboring Ceylanpinar. Schools in the town closed because of the clashes.
As violence went on unabated in border towns, battles were going on elsewhere. At least 22 people were killed Friday when shelling and fierce clashes erupted in various cities, including Damascus.
The bloody uprising against the Syrian government has gone on for 19 months and left more than 35,000 people dead.
President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to "live and die" in his nation despite a suggestion of his "safe passage" by the British prime minister to help end the gruesome war.
"Anything, anything to get that man out of the country and to have a safe transition in Syria," Prime Minister David Cameron told Al-Arabiya TV this week.
Cameron's statement reflects the frustration in the international community over failed efforts to halt the bloodshed.
"Of course I would favor him facing the full force of international law and justice for what he's done," he said. " I am certainly not offering him an exit plan to Britain. But if he wants to leave, he could leave; that could be arranged."
Al-Assad shot down the offer, vowing to "live and die" in Syria.
"I'm not a puppet, and I was not made by the West to go to the West or to any other country," he told Russia Today TV in an interview broadcast Thursday. "I am Syrian. I was made in Syria and to live and die in Syria."
Various factions of opposition fighters said they are forming a more united front to boost their quest to oust al-Assad.
The international community has constantly pressured the disparate armed fighters to unite.