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Turkey agrees to feed and shelter new wave of Syrian refugees -

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ELIZABETH JACKSON: At least 15,000 Syrian refugees are massing on the Turkish border after fleeing intense fighting in northern Aleppo.

The border is shut but Turkey has said that it will feed and shelter the refugees.

In the past few days the Syrian army, backed by Russia, has made significant advances in Aleppo, which has triggered the mass exodus of civilians.

Our Middle East correspondent is Matt Brown.

Matt, we've got lots of refugees arriving now on the border. What is the humanitarian situation like there now?

MATT BROWN: Well, it's not good. And here in the Middle East some pretty bad weather is coming in over the weekend that will badly affect those people as well.

Footage has emerged from the Syrian side of the border crossing into Turkey, near the Turkish town of Kilis, showing thousands of people milling about.

The border there has been closed for some time, except for the most urgent medical cases. And there are already many people in tented small camps in that area.

So, a pretty dire situation for those people. After all these years: still people fleeing afresh from conflict between the Syrian government, backed by Russian air strikes, and Syrian rebel forces.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Are aid agencies hard at work there? Are they able to actually get supplies in?

MATT BROWN: They are. They're able to get across the border. A Turkish aid organisation in particular is across the border, helping establish those tents. And it's been sending more aid in.

It's very controversial: the Turkish government's decision not to allow these refugee flows to come through. But after around 2 million entered Turkey, it said some time ago that enough is enough.

So yes, aid is getting in to those people but that's not good enough and it's not enough to give them humanitarian relief.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Is there any sign of that influx being stemmed?

MATT BROWN: It depends, I guess, on how much further the Syrian government presses its advantage, because advances that it's made over the past few days is what's been driving this flow of people.

But also, a lot of these towns have been, you know, sometimes largely emptied already. And what people are now looking at is the possible encirclement of rebel-held parts of Aleppo.

And, you know, what is obvious to Syrians on the ground is that the government's making headway with these intensive Russian air strikes behind them, and that it may just be a matter of time before that happens.

And some people, it seems, are getting out of that rebel-held territory before that occurs.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: And what does that mean for the rebels who are fighting in Aleppo?

MATT BROWN: It's an enormous blow to them. The eastern part of Aleppo fell to them in late 2012 and was a huge boost for their material, but also for their morale.

So right now to lose that: 1) they would be badly surrounded; 2) it would be an enormous blow to their morale; given all of the territory they lost to the Islamic State group and other extremists and then fighting back against them and now to lose this to the government would be devastating.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: That's our correspondent, Matt Brown, in the Middle East.