News / Middle East

Syrian Refugee Exodus Escalates

New Syrian refugees rest as they arrive at a stopover facility near the Turkish border town of Reyhanli in Hatay province, August 9, 2012.
New Syrian refugees rest as they arrive at a stopover facility near the Turkish border town of Reyhanli in Hatay province, August 9, 2012.
Lisa Schlein
GENEVA — The United Nations Refugee Agency says that the Syrian refugee exodus continues to escalate. It says the exodus is particularly significant from Syria's most populous city of Aleppo where fighting continues between government and opposition forces.

UNHCR says it has registered more than 170,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq.  It says it has recorded the sharpest rises in Turkey, which is close to Syria's besieged northern city of Aleppo.

The agency says Turkey hosts almost 65,000 Syrians in nine camps, about 40 percent of them include people who have arrived this month. The UNHCR says it is scaling up its humanitarian assistance in Turkey.

The UNHCR says the number of refugees formally registered in Turkey and other neighboring countries does not reflect the actual magnitude of the exodus from Syria because many Syrians are fearful of being identified.

A Syrian refugee girl looks out from a tent amidst dust at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, August 13, 2012.A Syrian refugee girl looks out from a tent amidst dust at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, August 13, 2012.
x
A Syrian refugee girl looks out from a tent amidst dust at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, August 13, 2012.
A Syrian refugee girl looks out from a tent amidst dust at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, August 13, 2012.
Refugee numbers also are climbing in Jordan.  The agency says on Thursday night, more than 1,000 people arrived at Jordanian border areas.

The Jordanian government estimates some 150,000 Syrians have crossed into the country since the Syrian uprising began nearly 18 months ago.

UNHCR spokesman, Adrian Edwards, says refugees are being housed in shelters and schools throughout the region.

"In Lebanon, UNHCR and its partners are urgently searching for alternative shelter for an increasing number of refugees who are staying in schools," Edwards said. "The schools - children go back there. These are operational schools. We need to relocate these people fast before enrollment starts in September. Meanwhile, in the north of the country, we are looking for alternative shelter for around 30 families staying in schools in Wali Kahlid.  We are working to rehabilitate unfinished houses to accommodate refugees." 

A recent spate of kidnappings of Syrians by masked men in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, has brought the war in Syria to Lebanon.

Edwards says the situation in Lebanon is becoming more difficult due a recent rash of kidnappings of Syrians and Turks.  He says aid workers now have more restrictions on their ability to move about freely.

In Iraq, the UNHCR reports more than 15,000 Syrian refugees with more than 10,000 of them in Kurdistan. The agency says it will help Iraqi authorities expand an existing camp and it is discussing a new camp to accommodate the growing number of Syrian refugees.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid