UN Warns of 700 000 Refugees from Syrian Civil War

World | September 27, 2012, Thursday // 17:19|  views

А Jordanian soldier watches Syrian refugees after they crossed into Jordanian territory at Thuniba Village near Ramtha city, north of the Jordanian capital Amman, at the Syria-Jordan border on 15 September 2012. EPA/BGNES

There could be as many as 700,000 refugees by the end of 2012 as a result of the civil war in Syria, UN refugee agency UNHCR warned on Thursday.

Panos Moumtzis, the agency's regional coordinator for Syria, said 2,000 to 3,000 people are fleeing daily into neighboring countries, often "arriving with only the clothes on their backs."

There are currently thought to be 294,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey, countries Moumtzis praised for having "set the example, keeping their borders open for Syrians fleeing violence", as cited by RIA Novosti.

The exodus has increased sharply since March 2012, when the UN said that 41,500 Syrian refugees, mainly women and children, were living in neighboring countries.

According to UN data, the civil war in Syria, which spilled over from an attempted Arab Spring-type revolution, has claimed more than 29 000 lives by September 2012.

Representatives of western countries have called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, as a way of ending the violence that has been ongoing since March 2011.

Russia and China meanwhile warn that intervention in the country is only likely to exacerbate the conflict.

The Syrian authorities claim that they are dealing with well-armed fighters who enjoy external support.

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Tags: Syria, Syrians, refugees, UN, UNHCR, Panos Moumtzis, civil war, Bashar Al-Assad, Syrian president, arab spring, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, turkey


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