11,000 Syrians flee in past 24 hours: UN
Ankara: At least 11,000 Syrian refugees have fled their country in single day, pouring into Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon with children and dozens of wounded, UN officials said on Friday. Some desperately climbed over razor-wire border fences to seek safety.
Most of the surge in refugees was due to the 9,000 fleeing into Turkey, including more than 70 who were wounded, UN officials said. Jordan and Lebanon each absorbed another 1,000 refugees.
The civil war in Syria has killed more than 36,000 people since an uprising against President Bashar Assad`s regime began in March 2011.
Panos Moumtzis, the UN refugee agency`s regional coordinator for the region, described the flood of people as "the highest that we have had in quite some time."
He said the escalation much more than the average 2,000 to 3,000 Syrians fleeing daily brings the number of Syrian refugees registered with the agency to more than 408,000.
The new arrivals bring the number of refugees in Turkey to around 120,000.
Turkish media showed video of refugees climbing through the barbed-wire fence separating the two countries. UN refugee agency spokesman Adrian Edwards told The Associated Press that the refugees had crossed into the Turkish border province of Sanliurfa.
"These are people fleeing fighting between the (rebel) Free Syrian Army and the government of Syria, including more than 70 wounded and two who are reported to have died," Edwards said.
A Turkish official said the Syrians were mostly escaping fighting in the town of Harem, in Syria`s northern Idlib province as well as violence in the Syria town of Ras al-Ayn in the northeastern province of al-Hasaka, where the rebels had wrested control from Assad`s forces. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government rules that bar civil servants from speaking to journalists without authorisation.
Radhouane Nouicer, the UN`s regional humanitarian coordinator for Syria, said the Middle East nation is seeing unrelenting increases in violence, suffering, displacement and losses "and civilian Syrians continue to pay the price."
He said UN officials also worry that in recent weeks Kurds and Palestinians have become increasingly being drawn into the fighting.
Earlier, state-run Anadolu Agency said a group of Syrian soldiers, including two generals and 11 colonels, had fled to Turkey with their families and were taken to a camp that shelters military defectors, including dozens of other generals.
Anadolu Agency video footage showed Syrians jumping over and climbing through the barbed-wire fence that makes up part of the 911-kilometer border, to cross into the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar.
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