Middle East

Syrian refugees near 150,000 as outflow grows: U.N.

New Syrian refugees rest as they arrive at a stopover facility for breaking fast near the Turkish border town of Reyhanli in Hatay province August 9, 2012. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

GENEVA: Growing numbers of Syrian civilians are fleeing fighting, especially in Aleppo, bringing the total to nearly 150,000 refugees registered in four neighbouring countries since the conflict began, the United Nations said on Friday.

The total includes 50,227 recorded in Turkey, where more than 6,000 Syrians arrived this week alone, it said.

"There certainly in the past week has been a sharp increase in the numbers arriving in Turkey, and there many of the people are coming from Aleppo and surrounding villages," Adrian Edwards, spokesman of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told a news briefing.

"Now if you look at other areas, I think that the situation is more of a steady and continued increase, but where fighting happens we tend to see the consequences," he said.

Syrian forces have pushed rebels back from a strategic district of Aleppo, but skirmishes continued and the United Nations said the conflict engulfing Syria would have no winner.

As of Thursday night, there were 45,869 Syrian refugees registered in Jordan, 36,841 in Lebanon and 13,587 in Iraq - which has also seen the return of 23,228 Iraqis from Syria since July 18, according to the Geneva-based agency.

"In several countries we know there to be substantial refugee numbers who have not yet registered," Edwards said.

Some Syrian refugees have also turned up in other countries including Algeria, Egypt and Morocco, and Evros, the Greek region that borders Turkey, he said, adding that the numbers were "really tiny" compared to the flows to Syria's neighbours.





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