In a 24-hour span, around 1,000 Syrians sought refuge in Turkey from the growing turmoil in their own country, at least three times the daily number of refugees the border has seen in the past week.
Citing an unnamed Turkish official, the Reuters news agency reported Thursday that an estimated 16,000 refugees live in Turkey, most of whom are in refugee camps. The government doesn’t expect the flow of refugees to subside and plans to open a new camp in April to house 10,000 more Syrians. Also, work on a 20,000-person camp is underway.
“We expect this to continue as long as the operation goes on in Idlib,” a Syrian town near the border where regime forces and rebels have been clashing, the official told Reuters.
In the last week, between 200 and 300 Syrians crossed the border daily into Turkey, Reuters reported.
Most estimates place the dead from fighting at over 8,000, and yesterday Saudi Arabia removed its embassy staff from Damascus.
Assad’s military has been placing land mines along the Turkish border, and yesterday US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice responded in a tweet. Interagency News:
“(There is) only one reason why Syria would want to plant anti- personnel landmines at its borders: to murder civilians trying to escape it. Truly horrific,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice tweeted on Tuesday.
The landmines appear to be the latest in a series of deadly tactics used by the Syrian government to prevent civilians from escaping. Over past weeks, several human rights groups, including Refugees International, have documented Syrian troops shooting civilians trying to flee besieged cities in Syria.
The U.N. estimates that nearly 230,000 people have been displaced since the uprisings began last year, with close to 30,000 having already fled to Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon.
Many commentators believe the UN is likely to issue a strongly worded statement.
An interesting NYT article at the link: