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More than 103,000 flee Syria in August in biggest outpouring yet

September 4, 2012 |  9:31 am


More than 103,000 refugees fled Syria in August, more than any other month since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began nearly a year and a half ago, the United Nations refugee agency said Tuesday.

The August outpouring nearly doubled the number of Syrians registered or waiting to be registered as refugees to more than 235,000, the U.N. agency said, a reflection of the grave escalation of violence in the embattled country. Thousands more refugees may still be uncounted.

The exodus has flooded neighboring countries with refugees in need. Turkey, which says it is already hosting more than 80,000 Syrian refugees, has left its borders open but roughly 8,000 people are believed to be waiting to cross because of the backlog in processing.

In the last week, roughly 500 Syrian Kurds crossed into Iraq each day -- a huge jump over just a few weeks earlier, when the same number crossed into Iraq in a week, the U.N. agency said. The skyrocketing numbers have pushed officials to create a new camp in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.

Jordan is now receiving refugees at an even faster rate, with 1,000 arriving every day. Lebanon has also received more than 59,000 displaced Syrians, but host families are becoming increasingly stretched, prompting the U.N. to prod Lebanese authorities to find alternative ways to shelter the incoming Syrians. Syrian families have already been evicted from a Lebanese school that is slated to begin classes soon, adding to the need for other ways to accommodate the refugees.

The record numbers of refugees come as opposition activists claim that deaths in the country have reached new heights, with roughly 5,000 people reportedly killed in August. More than 18,000 people, most of them civilians, have died in the Syrian conflict, according to the U.N. news agency.


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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

Photo: A Syrian girl, bottom center, who fled her home due to fighting between the Syrian army and the rebels, waits her turn to buy bread and eggs from a store Monday as she and others take refuge at a border crossing near the Syrian town of Azaz, in hopes of entering one of the refugee camps in Turkey. Credit: Muhammed Muheisen / Associated Press