Iraqi refugees in Syria seek UN refugee status

Thousands of Iraqi refugees lined up outside the offices of a UN refugee agency in this capital city Sunday to register for refugee status. Some of the 4,000 refugees also demanded that the Syrian government revoke new restrictions on their residency in Syria. The refugees voiced fears that Syria would force them to leave, despite assurances by the government that it would not deport Iraqis against their will. The current uproar follows recent statements in Damascus complaining that the flow of Iraqis is causing problems for the country. Syria is home to more than 800,000 Iraqi refugees. Last week, Syria assured the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres that it would not force Iraqi refugees in Syria to go back to Iraq, even though the government has invoked new measures affecting their residency.