Syria’s mass exodusComment on this story
Damascus - The mounting violence in Syria, in particular in the capital Damascus, has led thousands of Syrians to flee the country over the past days to take up refuge in neighbouring countries:
Up to 30 000 Syrians have fled into Lebanon over the past 48 hours, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. “Thousands of Syrians crossed into Lebanon yesterday. Reports vary between 8 500 and 30 000 people having crossed in the past 48 hours,” UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told reporters in Geneva.
On Thursday a Lebanese security source said “more than 18 600 Syrians have arrived since yesterday from Syria through the eastern Masnaa crossing, among them many people from Damascus and its province”.
According to the UNHCR there were 26 900 Syrian refugees registered in Lebanon, although activists have put the total number much higher.
Since the start in March 2011 of the revolt against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad more than 43 000 Syrians have sought refuge in Turkey, or live in camps set up near to the frontier, which also house regime opponents.
On Friday Syrian rebels took full control of the Bab al-Hawa border post with Turkey after overrunning it in a fierce battle with Syrian troops.
According to the authorities, nearly 140 000 Syrians have taken refuge in Jordan. At least 35 000 of them have so far registered as refugees with UNHCR.
The UN agency said on Friday it was unable to give an exact number of displaced people in Syria but estimated last week that “one million people may have been forced to flee inside the country since the conflict began.” - Sapa-AFP