Syrian refugee ‘river’ crosses into Iraq: UN

Updated 22 August 2013
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Syrian refugee ‘river’ crosses into Iraq: UN

BAGHDAD: Thousands of Syrians are flowing across the border into Iraq’s Kurdish region to escape battles between jihadists and Kurd forces in their homeland, the UN refugee agency said on Sunday.
The UN’s refugee agency reported a “river” of Syrians crossing into Iraqi Kurdistan, after more than 15,000 entered Iraq on Thursday and Saturday, figures which the UNHCR said were unprecedented.
“UN refugee agency staff at Sahela today report what appears like a river of people coming toward the border,” said Claire Bourgeois, UNHCR’s Iraq representative, referring to a border crossing in north Iraq.
“UNHCR is witnessing a major exodus from Syria over the past few days unlike anything we have witnessed entering Iraq previously.”
The UN refugee agency said in a statement that the 15,000 who crossed into Iraq on Thursday and Saturday were in addition to about 154,000 Syrian refugees already registered in Iraq.
Syrian war refugees’ access to Iraq has been erratic, with local political tensions and fears of a spillover of the conflict leading Kurdistan region authorities to shut the border in May.
Some restrictions were eased last month to allow Syrians stuck in their homeland to join family members already in Iraq, but numbers seeking to cross the border had remained relatively low.
Syria’s Kurds have tried to avoid antagonizing forces loyal to President Bashar Assad or rebels fighting to overthrow him, but there has been fierce fighting in recent weeks between Kurdish forces and the jihadist Al-Nusra Front, which is also fighting Assad.
All told, more than 1.9 million Syrians have fled their homeland’s 29-month-old civil war, with most seeking a haven in neighboring Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.


Yemen army captures Houthi leader, 7 Hezbollah members in Saada

Updated 27 min 31 sec ago
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Yemen army captures Houthi leader, 7 Hezbollah members in Saada

  • Forces carried out an operation that captured the leader of the militia along with seven military experts from Hezbollah
  • Meanwhile the commander of the third brigade said the battles lasted a week in Mount al-Ruqi and surrounding areas

Yemen’s national army captured a senior leader of the Houthi militia, and seven members of the Lebanese Hezbollah militia in the Al-Malahit district, southwest of the northern province of Saada.

A military source told the official website of Yemen’s National Military, “26 September Net,” that the forces carried out an operation that captured the leader of the militia along with seven military experts from Hezbollah during fierce battles in the province.

The group has been listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the European Union.

Meanwhile the commander of the third brigade, Major General Abdul Karim Al-Sudai said the battles lasted a week in Mount al-Ruqi and surrounding areas.

He pointed out that the Arab coalition fighters supported the army during the operations and bombed militia positions.