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

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs