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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Massive influx of Syrian refugees into Iraqi Kurdistan to escape al-Qaeda

To get a sense of what this story is about, look at the picture and look at the mass of humanity crossing the bridge in the background. Some 10,000 Syrians crossed into Iraqi Kurdistan on Saturday after 7,000 crossed on Thursday. But they're not escaping Assad (although they might fear him as well). They're escaping his Islamist rivals from al-Qaeda.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says this is one of the biggest single waves of refugees it has had to deal with since the uprising against the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.
While the reasons remain unclear, there has been a sharp rise in clashes between Syrian Kurds and anti-government Islamist militants.
The charity Save the Children has launched an emergency response to the mass arrival, distributing basic supplies to those waiting to be registered.
"This is an unprecedented influx of refugees, and the main concern is that so many of them are stuck out in the open at the border or in emergency reception areas with limited, if any, access to basic services," said Alan Paul, Save the Children's emergency team leader.
"The refugee response in Iraq is already thinly stretched, and close to half of the refugees are children who have experienced things no child should."
The BBC's Jim Muir in neighbouring Lebanon says the latest refugees are mainly families and have come from a broad stretch of territory in northern Syria.
They have been taking advantage of a new pontoon bridge over the Tigris.
Meanwhile, the US and the Europeans worry only about the 'Palestinians.' One day, they are going to pay a price for ignoring these poor people.

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