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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid