GENEVA: About 5,000 refugees are fleeing Syria each day, seeking safe haven from war and its devastating impact on basic living conditions, the UN said yesterday.
An acceleration in the exodus — up from 2,000 to 3,000 late last year — means the total could exceed one million refugees well before the end of June, its previous forecast, the UN refugee agency said.
“This is a full-on crisis,” Adrian Edwards, spokesman of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told a news briefing in Geneva. “There was a huge increase in January alone, we’re talking about a 25 percent increase in registered refugee numbers over a single month.”
About 150,000 Syrians poured across Syria’s borders in January, most into Jordan and Lebanon which have seen a massive increase in the inflow. Meanwhile, the Turkish government has spent more than $600 million (450 million euros) on feeding and housing Syrian refugees, the prime minister was quoted as saying yesterday.
“Our overall spending thus far has exceeded $600 million,” the daily Hurriyet quoted Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying.
In a separate development, more than 50 workers at a military factory in central Syria were killed in a bombing earlier this week, an opposition watchdog that monitors violence in Syria said yesterday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 54 people died in Wednesday’s explosion which struck their bus as they were preparing to return home at the end of their shift, and the number could rise further.