The United Nations said that more than 2,300 people, mostly women and children, had fled from northeastern Syria and crossed into Iraq in recent days. UN refugee agency spokesman, Andrej Mahecic told the reporters that for four consecutive days, the UN Human Rights Council has been receiving hundreds of refugees who are crossing the border from northeastern Syria to Iraq. More than 1,600 Syrian refugees have already been transported from the middle east border areas to Bardarash refugee camp which is 150 kilometers away from the Syria-Iraq border. The country has been facing many casualties since the Turkish President Erdogan announced offensive in Syria to create a safe zone in border areas.
Newly arrived refugees said it took them days to reach Iraq after fleeing shelling and fighting in north-east Syria. Most of the new arrivals are women, children and elderly.https://t.co/xpsAZnEV9L— UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) October 18, 2019
Later Mahecic added that nearly 734 people more people had been registered crossing the border overnight. The majority of the refugees are Kurds who had fled mainly from Kurdish-majority towns in northern Syria like Kobani, Amoda, Qamishly, and other surrounding villages. The camps have been prepared to accommodate the latest arrivals from the war-torn country. The UN also estimates that around 166,000 civilians have been forced to flee their homes since the Turkish 'Operation Spring of Peace' was launched on October 9.
“Fear made us come here.”— UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) October 17, 2019
After traveling for days to find safety, hundreds of Syrian refugees have arrived in northern Iraq. We are on the ground providing protection and urgent humanitarian assistance. pic.twitter.com/1SHbhRs3qn
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor, the number of refugees who had been forced to leave their homes is far higher than the number suggested by the UN. Calling the present situation in the country as one of the largest upheavals since the commencement of Syria's civil war in 2011, Syrian officials said that more than 300,000 civilians have been displaced by the offensive. The Human Rights monitor further added that nearly 500 people have been killed including civilians, mostly on the Kurdish side.
Mahecic said that the refugees who are currently arriving in Iraq have reportedly told the UNHCR staff that it has taken days for them to get safely to the border amidst the shelling and fighting. Most of the refugees even required psychological support, added Mahecic.
(With PTI inputs)