Up to 35,000 Syrians displaced by fighting in Aleppo flee to Turkish border

The refugees are receiving care, but there are no immediate plans to grant them entry to Turkey

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Syrian walk near the Bab al-Salam border crossing with Turkey, in Syria. Image: Bunyamin Aygun / AP/Press Association Images

The United Arab Emirates says it is ready to send ground troops to Syria as part of an international coalition to defeat so-called Islamic State extremists.

However the UAE's Foreign Secretary admits they will not deploy forces unless the US takes a lead role.

It comes as up to 35,000 Syrians displaced by fighting in Aleppo have fled to the Turkish border, where they are braving cold conditions in the hope of being allowed to enter the country.

Although they are receiving care on the Syrian side of the border, senior Turkish officials said there are no immediate plans to grant them entry.

Instead, preparations are being made to give them asylum in the event of an "extraordinary crisis" - and for now, they are being accommodated at camps for displaced people.

Many refugees had made the journey based on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's open-door policy for those escaping conflict.

One Syrian stuck at the border, Muhammed Idris, said: "Before, Tayyip Erdogan was saying on TV that Syria and Turkey are brothers, but now he is not opening the doors.

"Our houses are destroyed and we came to his house. Where else should we go?"

Tens of thousands more are expected to arrive in the border province of Kilis in coming days, and rebel-held zones of Aleppo still remain home to about 350,000 people.

"Our doors are not closed, but at the moment there is no need to host such people inside our borders," said Kilis province governor Suleyman Tapsiz, adding the refugees had been given food, blankets and tents.

There are fears another 70,000 Syrians could leave their homes to seek refuge if Russian and Syrian airstrikes do not end.

Rami Abdel Rahman, from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, described the plight of those displaced as "tragic" - with families sleeping outside in the cold without tents.

Earlier, EU officials warned Turkey of its obligation to keep its borders open to refugees fleeing the violence in Syria. At present, the country has kept a major crossing closed for a second day.

It came as a Syrian minister warned any foreign ground troops entering the country "will return to their countries in coffins".

Foreign Minister Walid al Moualem's warning followed reports Saudi Arabia and Turkey, which both support rebel forces, could send in troops if the US-led coalition against terror group Islamic State decided on ground action.

Russian and Syrian government forces gained ground north of Aleppo, Syria's largest city, on Saturday.

Aleppo has been the target of a government offensive and Russian airstrikes against rebel forces since Monday.

NATO's secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg has warned that Russian airstrikes against opposition forces in Syria are "undermining efforts to find a political solution to the conflict."