News / Middle East

    Numbers of Syrian Refugees Strain Neighboring Countries

    Syrians, who fled their homes due to fighting between the Syrian army and the rebels, shout slogans as they march toward the Turkish side of the border, August 28, 2012
    Syrians, who fled their homes due to fighting between the Syrian army and the rebels, shout slogans as they march toward the Turkish side of the border, August 28, 2012
    Dorian JonesLisa Schlein
    ISTANBUL, GENEVA — The United Nations refugee agency says the number of Syrians fleeing to neighboring countries is swelling, signaling what could be an impending mass movement and a regional crisis.

    In Jordan, 10,200 refugees arrived during the past week, twice as many as the week before.  Jordan was already providing shelter to an estimated 150,000 Syrians.

    Spokeswoman Melissa Fleming of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says the new arrivals at the Za'atri camp in northern Jordan are mainly from Syria's southern flashpoint area of Daraa.  She says refugees reported "being bombed as they were trying to cross" the border.

    "We do believe that this could be the start of a much larger influx into Jordan," she said. "People coming across, disturbingly, especially last Friday, are reported being bombed as they were trying to cross."

    The U.N. agency also says up to 200,000 Syrians could flee to Turkey if the conflict continues to deepen.  More than 3,000 fled to Turkey in the past 24 hours alone.

    According to reports, as many as 10,000 Syrians are waiting at the Turkish border as authorities struggle to process and find shelter for them in Turkey's increasingly over-stretched refugee camps.

    Turkey appeals for help

    Despite new camps hastily being constructed, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday made an international appeal for help.

    Davutoglu said Turkey is carrying out its humanitarian duties toward the Syrian people with whom it has historic brotherly ties. On the other hand, he said, the increasing numbers are becoming a burden that the international community must help share.
     
    With fighting intensifying between Syria's government and rebels, the number of Syrians fleeing to Turkey has doubled in recent months to 80,000.

    Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal says a solution to the crisis has to be found within Syria's borders.

    "The U.N. or the international community should think or should look into ways of finding a secure environment for the Syrian people on the Syrian side of the territory," Unal said.

    Ankara has been lobbying for the creation of safe haven areas, or a no-fly zone, for months. Despite having the largest and best equipped army in the region, Ankara is loathe to intervene unilaterally says Semih Idiz, diplomatic correspondent for the Turkish newspaper Milliyet.  

    "Most Turks consider Turkish intervention would be a quagmire, because it is very likely that this intervention on part of Turkey would require a major military component and there would no public support for Turkey to go unilaterally," Idiz said.
     
    Crisis to worsen

    As the refugee crisis is predicted to worsen regionally, concern is growing for young Syrian refugees.

    A spokesman for the United Nations Children's Fund, Patrick McCormick, says it is not unusual to have growing numbers of unaccompanied refugee children in time of war.

    McCormick said children often are separated from their families while fleeing to another country.  Sometimes parents send them away on their own for reasons of safety.  

    He says UNICEF has a program in place in Jordan to try to find and reunite unaccompanied children with their parents.

    In the meantime, he says the agency has established so-called friendly spaces where children can be looked after and are protected.

    "They have suffered a lot of trauma and the best way for them to survive this period is to be in a safe place where there are things that they can do while they wait and hope that we can find their parents, relatives, families," McCormick said.  

    Damascus bombing

    In ongoing violence, Syrian state television reported that 12 people were killed and nearly 50 wounded in a car bomb explosion at a funeral on the outskirts of Damascus.

    The blast took place in the Druze and Christian suburb of Jaramana.  An activist group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the funeral was being held for two government supporters killed in a bomb attack on Monday.

    In Tehran, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told reporters at a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement that member nations have condemned sanctions imposed against Syria by the West and some other countries.  He also warned countries not to support Syrian rebels, who he called "terrorists."

    "Any support by any foreign country of the terrorists in Syria is absolutely condemned, and we tell them that once you support terrorism in Syria it will come back to your own country," Mekdad said.

    Leaflets dropped

    Meanwhile, The Associated Press reported that Syrian military helicopters dropped thousands of leaflets over Damascus and its suburbs Tuesday, urging rebels to hand over their weapons or be killed.

    The AP said some of the leaflets read "The Syrian army is determined to cleanse every inch in Syria and you have only two choices: abandon your weapons ... or face inevitable death.''

    Syrian authorities blame the 17-month uprising on a foreign conspiracy and accuse oil-rich Gulf countries Saudi Arabia and Qatar, in addition to the United States and Turkey, of backing "terrorists" seeking to oust the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

    Jones reported from Istanbul, Schlein reported from Geneva. 

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Dr. Malek Towghi/Tauqee from: USA
    August 28, 2012 3:59 PM
    The tall-talking France should take all the Syrian refugees.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora