The watchdog accused Turkish border guards of shooting at some of those displaced in Aleppo province by fighting between the Islamic State (IS) group and rebels as they approached the frontier.
“As civilians flee ISIS fighters, Turkey is responding with live ammunition instead of compassion,” said HRW researcher Gerry Simpson, using another acronym for the jihadists.
“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.”
HRW said many of those who fled were residents of emergency camps set up along the border who headed for other camps or nearby towns and villages even though they were still unsafe.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) meanwhile estimated that up to around 23,000 displaced people had fled the IS offensive in northern Syria.
It said many displaced were now “in close proximity to frontlines and therefore extremely vulnerable to further escalations”.
It comes as escalating fighting between Russian-backed regime fighters and rebels around the provincial capital Aleppo further south threatens a nearly seven-week ceasefire that had seen violence drop significantly for the first time in the five-year conflict.