Syria refugee exodus grows as violence rages

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Syria refugee exodus grows as violence rages

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Off the south coast of Italy, police have intercepted a fishing boat said to be carrying more than 120 Syrians seeking refuge from the violence in their country. Apparently in good health, they have been taken to an immigration centre in Calabria.

Most civilians fleeing the violence have stayed closer to home. The UN refugee agency estimates that some 276,000 Syrians have fled, mainly to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

“There is another 616 who arrived last night… again this is an increase over the last few days,” said UNHCR representative in Jordan, Andrew Harper. “So despite the incredibly harsh conditions here, we are seeing more and more Syrians crossing the border to the safety of Jordan.”

“We got here yesterday,” said one new arrival at the Zaatari camp near the Syria-Jordan border. “We were attacked in our homes from the air, and we were hit by shelling and by missiles and tanks. We were shelled everyday.”

More than 2,000 Syrians have entered Turkey in just two days, authorities there say, taking to more than 50,000 the number seeking sanctuary in the country. Turkey is worried that the ever increasing flood of refugees could overwhelm its ability to care for them.