Syrian refugee crisis explodes with new flood of refugees
Some 9,000 refugees have fled to Turkey in the past 24 hours in one of the largest exoduses on a single day since the start of the uprising against Bashar al-Assad 19 months ago. Seven Turkish nationals have also been injured by stray shells from Syria.
Thousands of Syrians fled to Turkey on Thursday night as clashes intensified between opposition forces and the Syrian army along the border.
The UN said some 9,000 refugees had led to Turkey in the past 24 hours, while another 2,000 went to Jordan and Lebanon. Panos Moumtzis, the UN refugee agency’s coordinator for the region, said the estimated figures are “really the highest we have had in quite some time,” compared with an average 2,000 to 3,000 Syrians fleeing daily. This brings the number of Syrian refugees registered with the agency to more than 408,000.
A Turkish Foreign Ministry official had earlier put the latest influx at 8,000 — a single-day total that is sure to heighten Ankara’s concerns about the flood of refugees, given that the exodus is one of the largest on a single day since the start of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in March last year. Ankara earlier set the figure of 100,000 as a “psychological threshold,” suggesting that it would be difficult to handle a refugee flow beyond that number.