This marks the highest number of Syrian refugees to cross into Turkey in a single day. The Syrian military has recaptured the northern opposition stronghold of Idlib near the Turkish border, a major base that military defectors had held for months.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday that troops have planted land mines near its borders with Turkey and Lebanon along routes used by civilians to flee the violence and reach safety in neighboring countries. HRW said its report was based on accounts from witnesses and Syrian deminers and that mines have already caused civilian casualties.
The state-run Anatolia news agency said 452 Syrians, including women and children, crossed into Turkey and arrived in Kavalcık village in Hatay’s Reyhanlı district late on Tuesday. The Syrians were sent to a refugee camp set up in Reyhanlı.
The total number of Syrian refugees in Reyhanlı now numbers more than 3,000. A total of 37 Syrians also entered Turkey through Reyhanlı on Tuesday morning.
Idlib, a predominantly Sunni city of some 150,000 people located about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Homs, was among the first to fall in the hands of army defectors last summer. Opposition fighters had held control of large parts of the city for the past few months with government troops present in some areas.
The UN Refugee Agency said 230,000 Syrians have fled their homes since the uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime began last year. The UN says more than 7,500 people have been killed in the past 12 months.
Panos Moumtzis, the UNHCR's coordinator for Syria, said 30,000 people have already fled to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, adding that “on a daily basis hundreds of people are still crossing into neighboring countries.”
Turkey currently hosts nearly 14,000 Syrian refugees in its Hatay district. A total of 10,000 Syrian refugees will be transferred to a refugee camp currently under construction in neighboring Kilis province. The refugee camp in Kilis is equipped with containerized housing units.