Swirling chaos in Syria may have prompted the mass exodus of up to as many as 30,000 Syrian refugees into Lebanon over the past 48 hours, according to UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency.
With the spread of deadly violence, I am gravely concerned for the thousands of Syrian civilians and refugees who have been forced to flee, said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, adding that he is also concerned about the tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees who are still in Damascus after almost a decade and have been targeted for violence by irate Syrians.
I fear for the civilians caught up in the violence in Damascus, including the large Iraqi refugee population residing there, he said.
UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told journalists in Geneva that the evolving situation in Syria makes it impossible to determine exact numbers.
As of last week, it was estimated that 1 million people may have been forced to flee inside the country [Syria] since the conflict began [in March 2011], she said.
Many Syrians in general are running low on resources and are increasingly turning to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent [SARC] and other organizations for help.
She added that as of July 18, 120,000 Syrian refugees (perhaps many more) have also sought protection in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.
Borders remain open. People continue to arrive in Turkey,” she noted.
“People continue to arrive in Jordan. People continue to flood into Lebanon and increasingly into Iraq.”