Human Rights Watch has urged Turkey to allow thousands of Syrians fleeing fighting between rebels and the Islamic State group to cross the Turkish border to seek protection.

In a statement released late Thursday, the advocacy group quoted a Syrian refugee who said Turkish border guards shot at hundreds of people fleeing IS as they approached a border wall.

"As civilians flee ISIS fighters, Turkey is responding with live ammunition instead of compassion," said Gerry Simpson, senior refugee researcher at Human Rights Watch. "The whole world is talking about fighting ISIS, and yet those most at risk of becoming victims of its horrific abuses are trapped on the wrong side of a concrete wall."

Turkish officials say they were aware of the report but had no immediate response.