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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid