Thousands of Syrians flee to Jordan: UN
AMMAN, July 5, 2012 (AFP) - Up to 5,000 Syrians have sought refuge in Jordan over the past week from the bloodshed in their country, in a possible prelude to a largescale influx, the UN refugee agency said on Thursday.
"Around 4,000 to 5,000 have crossed the borders this week, which is a large number," the UNHCR representative in Jordan, Andrew Harper, told AFP. "More and more people are likely to be coming to the kingdom."
"We are fine when we are dealing with 200 to 300 people a day, but once the number starts by initially 500 a day and then up to 1,000 a day, then we have to start seeking much bigger ... plans to respond to the potential largescale influx."
Zayed Hammad, head of the Ketab and Sunna Society which takes care of more than 50,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, said that "over 1,000 Syrians fled to the kingdom since dawn Thursday."
"Blasts can be heard clearly every day from the border town of Ramtha, where people can no longer sleep at night," Hammad said.
"The society has given $10 million to the Syrian refugees in Jordan in the form of in-kind assistance and cash since last year," he added.
Jordan is hosting around 140,000 Syrians, of whom 27,344 are UN-registered.
Harper said the UNHCR has asked Jordan to speed up plans to set up a refugee camp for the Syrians.
"There is good progress (in talks) with the government ... We have a number of sites near the border city of Ramtha," he said.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has estimated that more than 16,500 people have been killed since the anti-regime uprising in Syria broke out in mid-March 2001.
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