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syrian refugees turkish borderA Turkish charity says about 50,000 people fleeing intense fighting in northern Syria have arrived at a Syrian-Turkish border crossing.

Serkan Nergis of the Islamic charity IHH says displaced Syrians began streaming toward the Bab al-Salam border crossing Thursday.

Nergis said Friday that the group is setting up tent camps in Syria near the crossing to provide temporary shelter. The charity runs about 10 camps for displaced Syrians along the frontier.

The border was closed Friday, and it was not clear if any of the refugees would be admitted to Turkey.

Earlier this week, Syrian troops backed by allied militias and intense Russian air strikes launched an offensive in northern Syria. It appears aimed at eventually encircling the contested city of Aleppo, Syria’s largest.

Senior Iranian commander killed in Syria

Brigadier General Mohsen Ghajarian
Brigadier General Mohsen Ghajarian
Iran’s supreme leader says Iranian forces must fight Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq to prevent the militant organization spreading to Iran.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s comments, which were reported by Tasnim news agency Friday, closely followed the announced death of a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander in Syria.

Brigadier General Mohsen Ghajarian of the elite Revolutionary Guards was killed in the northern province of Aleppo, according to the Fars news agency, which is close to the Guards.

Iranian officials have said that Iranians have an “obligation” to protect Syrian Shiite shrines.

Iran, a longtime ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, acknowledges that Iranian officers are providing an advisory role in Syria, but denies sending combat troops.

Several Iranian troops, including high-ranking officers, have been killed in Syria. On Saturday Iran will hold a funeral for Gen. Mohsen Ghajarian, a senior commander killed in recent fighting.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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