30,000 refugees flee Syria says UN
Geneva, March 13, 2012
The United Nations estimates at least 30,000 refugees have fled the fighting in Syria since the start of the conflict a year ago.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands are thought to be displaced within Syria, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Tuesday.
The number of refugees was up 5,000 from figures given by UNHCR on March 9, though newly appointed regional coordinator Panos Moumtzis said the increase represented more accurate data rather than a sudden flow of refugees across the border.
UNHCR does not have accurate data on the number of internally displaced people in Syria, but Moumtzis said the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society estimated the number at 200,000, which was the figure being used by UN agencies.
'There are some indications it is much larger than that,' he told a regular UN news briefing.
Some 13,000 Syrians are in seven camps set up in Turkey's southern province of Hatay. UNHCR says 23,000 people have received protection there since April 2011, but many have returned to Syria. The Turkish government plans to move most of the refugees to a purpose-built container city in Kilis province.
Syrian forces have laid mines near the borders of Lebanon and Turkey along routes used to escape the conflict in Syria, advocacy group Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.
In Lebanon, there are 4,000 Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley.
About 5,000 Syrians have been registered over the last year, and another 2,000 are awaiting registration. A further 380 people are wating at a transit facility at the border at Ramtha. -Reuters