The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, said yesterday that more than half a million Syrian refugees were either registered or awaiting registration in the region.
The civil war has driven hundreds of thousands of Syrians into neighbouring countries. Lebanon is now host to 154,387 registered Syrian refugees, Jordan has 142,664, Turkey 136,319, Iraq 65,449 and North Africa 11,740, the UNHCR said in Geneva.
In addition, there are more than 1.5 million Syrians who fled violence for safer areas within the country.
Large numbers of Syrians have also crossed into neighbouring countries but have not yet registered for refugee status and assistance, it said. These include about 100,000 in Jordan, 70,000 each in both Turkey and Egypt and tens of thousands in Lebanon, it said, citing government estimates.
Up to 700,000 refugees may flee Syria by the end of the year, the U.N. refugee agency said on Thursday, escaping a conflict which is killing hundreds every day and dividing world powers meeting at the United Nations.
The UNHCR forecast is almost four times higher than its June prediction, reflecting spiraling violence in Syria where President Bashar al-Assad has responded to rebel military gains with air strikes and artillery bombardment.
Activists said more than 300 people were killed in Syria on Wednesday including dozens in a town southeast of Damascus where they accused Assad’s forces of committing a massacre. Rebels also bombed the military staff headquarters in the capital.
Around 294,000 refugees escaping 18 months of conflict have crossed into neighboring Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey, most of them in the last two months.
“This is a significant outflow taking place, 100,000 people in August, 60,000 in September and at the moment 2,000 or 3,000 per day or night,” Panos Moumtzis, Regional Refugee Coordinator for UNHCR, said in Geneva.
The flow of refugees surged in August when Assad deployed jets and helicopters to strike rebel-held towns in the northern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib, sending thousands across the border with Turkey. Heavy military clashes with rebels in Deraa in the south also drove many Syrians into neighboring Jordan.
U.N. aid agencies and humanitarian partners issued a funding appeal on Thursday for $488 million to try to help meet the needs of the rapidly growing number of refugees from Syria.
Since the uprising against Assad erupted in March last year, more than 30,000 people have been killed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said this week. It said more than 7,000 of those were soldiers and members of the security forces.
The United Nations says many more have been displaced and that 2.5 million people in the country need aid and assistance.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has decided to deport 900,000 Afghan refugees in three months, reports say.
The Iranian Ministry of Interior has given a 3-month deadline to the Afghan refugees who have no proper documents, to leave the country voluntarily Each Afghan refugee who leaves voluntarily will receive $150 from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Iranian Ministry of Interior says.
The issue of Afghan refugees in Iran has been a major challenge for the Afghan government in the recent years.
The Afghan Ministry of Immigration and Returnees has pledged to do what it can to facilitate the return of Afghan refugees from Iran in cooperation with the UNHCR.
There are currently around 3 million Afghan refugees living in Iran.