News / Middle East

Thousands of Syrians Flock to Kurdistan

A Syrian Kurdish refugee plays on a pile of dirt in the Dumiz refugee camp in northern Iraq, Feb. 15, 2013.
A Syrian Kurdish refugee plays on a pile of dirt in the Dumiz refugee camp in northern Iraq, Feb. 15, 2013.
VOA News
A sudden influx of thousands of Syrians have flocked to Iraq's Kurdistan region after weeks of fighting between Islamist insurgents and Kurds in northern Syria.

A reporter for VOA's Kurdish service in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk says about 6,000 Syrian Kurds recently crossed a bridge over the Tigris River into the Kurdistan region. He says at least 1,000 are still waiting at the Syrian border to cross into Iraqi Kurdistan.

Speaking in Geneva Friday, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees spokesman Adrian Edwards said the rush of refugees started when a group of 750 refugees crossed into Peshkhabour in Iraqi Kurdistan on Thursday. Thousands more followed.

Most of the new refugees are women, children and the elderly. The U.N. says aid agencies and authorities are rushing food and water to the site.

The influx comes amid fierce fighting in recent weeks between Syrian Kurdish forces and the al-Qaida-linked group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is also fighting troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Kurdish leaders in Iraq and Syria are investigating unconfirmed reports of Kurdish massacres by al-Nusra. Syrian Kurds have largely attempted to stay on the sidelines in Syria's civil war, administrating their own affairs and towns.

Dr. Sarwar Abdul-Rahman, a member of the Iraqi Kurdistan regional parliament, told VOA's Kurdish service that his government should help the Syrian Kurds. “We want the affairs of the border to be organized, and we are aware that it has security implications, but Parliament has dedicated a large amount of the budget for security reasons so we should be able to maintain security. What is important for Kurds [from Syria] is to allow them come to Kurdistan region to do business and go back to their region where they need medicine and daily necessities.”

Before Thursday's sudden refugee influx, the border between Syria and northern Iraq was tightly-controlled. Kurdish officials say the fighting in the Kurdish area of Syria portends a refugee crisis for Iraq's Kurdistan.

Iraq already hosts more than 150,000 Syrian refugees, many living in makeshift enclaves.

The U.N. says more than 1.9 million Syrians have fled their country's civil conflict and applied to register as refugees. Lebanon houses nearly 700,000 Syrian refugees, and Jordan houses more than half a million.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid