The United Nations has praised Turkey’s actions in opening a section of its border with Syria to allow fleeing Kurds to cross to safety as “right and humane.”

In a statement late on Friday, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said: “UNHCR applauds Turkey’s prompt action in ensuring safe haven for and extending support to Syrian-Kurdish civilians seeking to cross its borders from new fighting in northern Syria in the area around the town of Ayn Al-Arab."

Turkey accepted 45,000 Kurdish refugees fleeing an ISIL assault on their villages and the border city of Ayn Al-Arab, known as Kobane in Kurdish.

The refugee agency reported that the city was surrounded on three sides by militants and voiced concerns over possible further displacement in the coming days.

Amin Awad, UNHCR Middle East director, said: “It is of life-saving importance that these people have access to safe haven.

“Turkey is already hosting a very substantial population of Syrian refugees and its capacities are being tested. Its actions today in ensuring that borders are open to people fleeing the latest violence was right and humane in a very difficult situation."

The agency noted that Turkey currently hosts at least 847,266 Syrian refugees.