Syrian exodus passes 200,000
Sep 4, 2012 / 9:00 pm
More than 100,000 Syrians fled their country in August, the highest monthly total since the crisis began in March 2011, the U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday.
That exodus sharply increased the number of Syrians now living in neighbouring countries, bringing the total number of refugees to 234,368 in the past 17 months, the agency said.
Along with activists' reports that the death toll in August was also the highest in the civil war with 5,000 killed, all signs are pointing to unprecedented levels of misery in a country where President Bashar Assad's regime is fighting an increasingly violent rebellion.
"If you do the math, it's quite an astonishing number," U.N. refugee agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said of the number of people who fled in August, speaking to reporters Tuesday in Geneva.
"And it points to a significant escalation in refugee movement and people seeking asylum, and probably points to a very precarious and violent situation inside the country," she said.
But even the August figure only counts refugees who are registered and those awaiting registration. Officials acknowledge the real number of Syrian refugees is likely way above 200,000, because tens of thousands are believed to have not yet contacted authorities.
The uprising began with largely peaceful protests of Assad's regime but has turned into a civil war that activists say has killed at least 23,000 people.
Heilprin reported from Geneva. AP writers David Rising in Berlin and Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.
Read more World News
- Wave of attacks in Iraq, kill at least 70
- John Lennon guitar sells for $408,000
- Arrests made in Las Vegas iPad killing
- Mice and lizards return from space
- Plane crashes at airshow in Turkey
- One winning ticket for $590M Powerball
- French gay marriage law signed
- Pope decries banks over people
- Car drives into crowd at Virginia parade
- Powerball jackpot $600M and rising
- Plane catches fire at Moscow airport
- First Saudi woman scales Mount Everest
(Click for RSS instructions.)