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Syrian refugee numbers surge again amid Aleppo clashes

August 10, 2012 | 10:29 am


As the violence in Syria rages, more refugees are pouring from the country into neighboring nations, the United Nations refugee agency said Friday.

The number of registered refugees has more than tripled since April, a reflection of the escalating carnage in the country. Since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began nearly a year and a half ago, it is estimated that more than 17,000 people have been killed, including civilians, government forces and rebels.

Nearly 150,000 Syrian refugees have now registered or are in the process of doing so in other countries; in April, only 45,000 had been registered with the agency.

Many more are believed to have fled to other countries without registering with the U.N.

In Jordan, for instance, more than 45,000 refugees have registered, but the country is believed to be host to more than 140,000 Syrians escaping the violence, straining its resources and testing its patience.

The biggest recorded numbers are in Turkey, where more than 50,000 refugees have registered, more than 6,000 of them in this week alone. The U.N. said many of the newly arrived refugees are fleeing Aleppo, a city once insulated from fighting and now enmeshed in it as rebels and government forces trade blows.

Turkey has already opened a new camp to hold the booming numbers of fleeing Syrians, with plans to build as many as 13 more camps to double its capacity to 100,000.

Earlier this summer, the U.N. and humanitarian agencies more than doubled the amount of money they were seeking to help Syrian refugees, increasing their appeal from $84 million to $193 million. In addition to refugees who have escaped the country, the U.N. said last week there could also be as many as 1.5 million people displaced inside the country with little or no access to aid.


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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

Photo: United Nations refugee agency workers distribute food at Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan, on Monday. Credit: Jamal Nasrallah / European Pressphoto Agency