Tens of thousands of people, including many women and children, have been uprooted as pro-government forces backed by intense Russian anti-rebel air strikes advance near Syria's second city Aleppo.

"Turkey has reached the limit of its capacity to absorb the refugees," Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told media.

Turkey's Oncupinar border crossing, which faces the Bab al-Salama frontier post inside Syria, remained closed today to thousands of refugees gathered there for a third day, a reporter said. They waited desperately for the moment the gate will open, as Turkish aid trucks delivered food inside Syria.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that Turkey was ready to open its gates to Syrian refugees 'if necessary'.

More than 260,000 people have died in Syria's nearly five- year-old conflict, which involves a tangled web of mainstream rebels, Islamists, jihadists, Kurds and pro-regime forces supported by Russia and Iran.

More than half the population has been displaced and hundreds of thousands have tried to reach Europe, sometimes paying with their lives making the risky Mediterranean Sea crossing.

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