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Thousands of Syrian refugees continue massive exodus into neighbouring countries

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With the Syrian crisis taking on differing challenging security and political dimensions almost hourly, a continuous exodus of thousands of Syrian refugees across Syria’s borders into neighboring countries steadily rises by the day.

Syrian refugees go about their daily lives at the Reyhanli Refugee Camp in Antakya, on March 14, 2012 (Photo: BULENT KILIC/AFP)

In Egypt alone, the number of Syrian refugees has jumped by an estimate of 5,000 following Wednesday’s rebel attack on a Damascus national security building, a refugee legal aid team in Cairo who preferred to remain nameless to protect the families it serves reported to the Daily News Egypt.

Most Syrian refugees in Egypt depend on, “the Syrian community banding together to help our brothers and sisters fleeing from monstrosities back home,” according to the blog of a Syrian residing in Egypt. The same was also reported by a legal team member, who said the Syrian refugees who come without enough money to support themselves depend on donations from Syrian businessmen who have been living in Egypt before the start of the Syrian uprising.
In celebration of Ramadan, the Syrian community in Egypt is preparing to provide Iftar to 200 Syrian refugees in Cairo, on a daily basis.

 
The Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr spoke about Syrian refugees during the Arab League’s emergency meeting held in Doha, Qatar on Sunday, describing the humanitarian situation as “catastrophic,” according to Egypt’s State Information Service.

 
“Egypt, through contributions from the government and civil society organizations, is ready to help all efforts to rescue the Syrian people, particularly in refugee camps in neighboring states,” Amr said.

 
Similar statements where echoed in Iraq, whose Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki granted Syrian refugees access to Iraqi territory on Monday, according to AFP. The decision contradicts earlier statements made by Iraqi government officials on Friday. Officials had previously said the country would no longer allow Syrians into Iraq, citing security reasons.

 
In Jordan, despite a sizable build up of security across its border with Syria, King Abdullah II said “we have to open our doors to our Syrian brothers,” according the Associated Press.

 
Nevertheless, open arms and welcome policies do not offer sustainable shelter for the Syrian refugees. The latest United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) put the number of Syrian refugees in neigbouring countries at 112,000. However the UNCHR report was released before the ‘Battle of Damascus’ last week.

 
At least 9,000 Syrian refugees entered into the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq on Sunday, according to the Chinese Xinhua News Agency.
Large exoduses such as the Syrian refugee crisis create a myriad of issues for host countries, including lack of appropriate shelter, job opportunities, access to education, and health care.

 
Early indicators of such problems were noted in Turkey, where Dogan News Agency reported the break out of riots in a Syrian refugee camp inside Turkey near the Syrian border, which left four Syrian refugees as well as four Turkish security men injured. The clashes come amid Syrian complaints about their conditions in Turkey, which currently hosts almost 43,000 Syrian refugees.

 


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