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AFP
October 19, 2019

Nearly 1,700 Syrian Kurds seek refuge in Iraq

World

AFP
October 19, 2019

GENEVA: The United Nations said on Friday that nearly 1,700 people, most of them women and children, had fled fighting in northeastern Syria and crossed into Iraq in recent days.

"For the fourth consecutive day, UNHCR ... has been receiving hundreds of refugees crossing the border into Iraq from northeast Syria," UN refugee agency spokesman Andrej Mahecic told reporters in Geneva.

He first said that "over 1,600 Syrian refugees have been transported from the border areas to Bardarash refugee camp", about 150-km east of the Syria-Iraq border, adding though that another 734 people had been registered crossing the border overnight.

Mahecic said the camp had "been prepped to receive the latest arrivals fleeing the fighting in northern Syria." The UN currently estimates that around 166,000 people have been forced to flee their homes since Turkey launched its offensive in northeastern Syria on October 9.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor has meanwhile put the number far higher, saying more than 300,000 civilians had been displaced by the assault, calling it one of the largest upheavals since Syria’s civil war began in 2011.

The monitor said nearly 500 people have been killed including dozens of civilians, the majority on the Kurdish side. Mahecic said that refugees arriving in Iraq had told UNHCR staff that "it took them days to get to the border as they fled amid shelling and fighting".

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