Syrian refugees swell to 200,000 as exodus grows
ALEPPO, Syria: The number of refugees fleeing civil war in Syria has surged to over 200,000, the UN said yesterday, as fighter jets and tanks reportedly unleashed deadly new raids in hotspots across the country.
Officials complained that the escalation of violence in Syria and related clashes in Lebanon are hampering the work of the UN refugee agency as the number of those fleeing the conflict reaches record levels.
The total reflects an increase of about 30,000 in the past week alone to Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, but also takes into account those awaiting registration in Jordan, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.
"There has been a dramatic increase in the number of (Syrian) refugees in the region during August, we're now at over 200,000 refugees in the region, that's over and above our planning figure for all 2012 of 185,000 refugees," spokesman Adrian Edwards told Reuters in Geneva.
Turkey continues to see the largest refugee influx, with more than 74,000 registered as of Wednesday, Edwards said.
The refugee numbers swell as activists said fighters jet bombed an apartment building in eastern Syria. The air raid on Mayadin, a city in Deir El-Zour province near the Iraqi border, occurred after fighters gained control of a key checkpoint on a bridge over the Euphrates River there, local activist Abu Omar Al-Deery said. Al-Deery put the death toll at 23.
"There was a real massacre in Mayadin. I believe it is to avenge the takeover of the city by the Free Syrian Army," Al-Deery told The Associated Press through Skype.
Posted by: Steve White