Syrian refugees in Iraq 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
GENEVA - More than 20,000 Syrian refugees have entered
northern Iraq since Thursday in one of the largest crossings in the more than
two-year-old conflict and the influx is continuing, the United Nations said on
Syrians began pouring into the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq
last Thursday, taking advantage of a new bridge along the largely closed border,
the UN says.
"It looks like the total from last Thursday to now is
somewhere in the region of 20,000 or more coming across," Adrian Edwards of the
UN refugee agency UNHCR said.
"If not the biggest influx across the border at
a single time then it is among the largest in the whole Syria crisis." Hundreds
of Syrians fleeing fighting in Aleppo and other parts of northern Syria were
massed along the Tigris River on Monday near the pontoon crossing, UNHCR staff
Thousands of Syrian refugees poured into the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, taking advantage of a new bridge along the largely closed border, the United Nations said on Friday.
Between 5,000 and 7,000 refugees followed a first group of some 750 people who crossed the pontoon bridge at Peshkhabour over the Tigris River, and more buses were seen dropping off families on the Syrian side, it said.
"Thousands of Syrians crossed into northern Iraq last week in a sudden, massive movement," Adrian Edwards, spokesman of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told a news briefing in Geneva.