UNHCR: Syrian refugees flooding into Iraq

More than 15,000 civilians flowed across border into Iraq’s Kurdish region since Thursday, refugee agency says.

    Thousands of Syrians have flowed across the border into Iraq’s Kurdish region to escape battles in their homeland, the UN refugee agency has said.

    More than 15,000 refugees have crossed into Iraq in the latest influx since Thursday, with more expected to follow, UNHCR said.

    The agency is witnessing a major exodus from Syria over the past few days unlike anything we have witnessed entering Iraq previously, Claire Bourgeois, the agency's Iraq representative, said.

    Kurdish region had allocated an additional $20 million to its budget for Syrian Kurdish refugees, but would require further help from the UN and Iraq's federal government, Dindar Zebari, the deputy chief of the Iraqi Kurdish foreign affairs department, said. 

    Syrian government forces pulled out of the Kurdish-majority areas of northern and north-eastern Syria last year, leaving Kurdish groups to run their own affairs.

    But al-Qaeda loyalists have been locked in deadly fighting with Kurdish armed groups in recent months.

    More than 1.9 million Syrians have fled their homeland, with most seeking a haven in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

    Iraq hosted nearly 155,000 registered Syrian refugees, most of them Kurds, according to the UN, before the latest influx.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?