World News

Thousands of Syrians Flock to Kurdistan

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 says 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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs