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Five-storey building among two to collapse in Istanbul

Two buildings - one of which was a five-storey - have collapsed in Istanbul close to the Turkish city's main shopping area.

At this stage there has been no report of casualties.

Local governor Vasip Sahin told CNN Turk no one is believed to have been killed or injured.

The buildings collapsed in a street near Istanbul's busy Istiklal Avenue in the central Taksim area. Credit: APTN
The area around the five-storey building was roped off as firefighter teams inspected the rubble. Credit: APTN
Clouds of brown dust was reported to have swept into the surrounding streets after the collapse. Credit: APTN

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Fighting in Aleppo leaves 'at least 500 dead'

A Syrian refugee camp near the Turkish border Credit: ITV News

The fierce fighting in Aleppo has killed at least 500 people since the offensive began in early February, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The war monitor said this figure included at least 100 civilians.

Thousands have been fleeing the brutal war in Aleppo in recent days and are camped along the border with Turkey.

Turkey fears new wave of 'up to 600,000 Syrian refugees'

The newly built camp in Syria near the Turkish border Credit: Turkish government

The fierce fighting in Aleppo could see a wave of 600,000 Syrian refugees fleeing to the border of Turkey, the country's deputy prime minister has warned.

Numan Kurtulmus said: "The worst-case scenario that could happen in this region in the short term would be a new influx of 600,000 refugees at the Turkish frontier."

Tens of thousands of Syrians are currently camped along the border.

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Merkel blames Russian bomb attacks for Syria border rush

German chancellor Angela Merkel has joined Turkey in condemning Russian bombing attacks for forcing thousands of Syrians to rush to the Turkish border.

The newly built camp by Turkey on the Syrian side of border where thousands of refugees remain stranded. Credit: Turkish government

Around 30,000 people are being held in camps on the Syrian side of the border after fleeing the city of Aleppo to escape bombardment from Russian-backed government forces.

Children and their families were held in the temporary tents awaiting clearance into Turkey in temperatures that have dropped to nearly 0C. Credit: Turkish government

Ms Merkel, who is partly in Ankara to put pressure on Turkey to admit the refugees, said: "We are now, over the last few days, not only appalled but also shocked by the human suffering of tens of thousands of people through bombing attacks, and also bombing attacks originating from the Russian side."

Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Russia's air assault should not be tolerated with an acceptance that Turkey will continue to accept the fleeing refugees.

Speaking at the joint news conference, Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey will admit the refugees "when necessary" on a day when his administration sent trucks carrying more tents over the border to reinforce the temporary camps.

22 killed as migrant boat capsizes off Turkish coast

The boat sank off Edremit on Turkey's western coast, close to the Greek island of Lesbos. Credit: Google Maps

Twenty-two people have drowned after a boat carrying migrants capsized en route to Greece, the Turkish coast guard has said.

The boat sank off Turkey's Aegean coast in the Edremit area of Balikesir province, as those on board sought to reach a Greek island, an official said.

Separately, the Dogan news agency said 11 migrants died and three were rescued when another boat sank further south off the cost of Dikili in the Izmir province.

Turkey drive tents over border as refugees remain held

A Turkish convoy carrying tents has crossed the border to reinforce camps on the Syrian side where thousands of refugees remain held.

ITV New Middle East Editor Lutfi Abu Aun tweeted images of trucks reaching the border gates at Bab al-Salameh.

The Turkish government is continuing to resist pressure from the EU to admit more refugees with between 30-40,000 Syrians held just over its border.

People sit on the pavement as they wait at Turkey's Oncupinar border crossing. Credit: Reuters
A 15-year old injured Syrian boy was allowed entry into Turkey for treatment, along with his father, at the Oncupinar crossing. Credit: Reuters

Merkel flies in as pressure rises on Turkey over refugees

Turkey has been urged to let in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees trapped at its border in freezing conditions after fleeing fighting and bombing in the city of Aleppo.

The German chancellor Angela Merkel is due in Ankara today for talks with the Turkish government on Syria and the refugee crisis.

Turkey has admitted more than 2.5 million people fleeing the fighting in Syria but is holding the latest refugees in a camp at the border.

ITV News Middle East Correspondent Geraint Vincent said he has seen fighting over food supplies and thousands sleeping out in the open in freezing conditions during a visit to the camps on the Syrian side of the Turkish border.

But despite witnessing what he described as a "desperate situation" he said it is possible to have "some sympathy" for the Turkish government's position.

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