GENEVA (AP) — Some 100,000 refugees fled Syria during August, making it by far the highest monthly total since hostilities began, the UN refugee agency said yesterday.
The tide in people fleeing the civil war, a figure that includes both refugees who are registered and those awaiting registration with the Geneva-based UN refugee agency, underscores the intensifying violence between the regime of Syria's president, Bashar Assad, and the armed anti-government groups.
The August total represents more than 40 per cent of the 234,368 Syrian refugees who, as of the last count on September 2, had fled for surrounding countries since the uprising began 17 months ago.
"If you do the math, it's quite an astonishing number," UN refugee agency spokesman Melissa Fleming told reporters yesterday at the UN's European headquarters in Geneva. "And it points to a significant escalation in refugee movement and people seeking asylum, and probably points to a very precarious and violent situation inside the country."
The refugee agency and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are continuing to expand their operations to support displaced Syrians and appealing to all nations to take in Syrians who need asylum. There are now more than 80,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey, where the borders remain open, and there is a backlog of some 8,000 Syrians waiting to be processed at the border, Fleming said. Jordan has more than 77,000 Syrian refugees; Lebanon has more than 59,000; and Iraq nearly 18,700, according to the agency.