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Saturday 19.08.2017 | Name days: Melānija, Imanta

More than 100,000 Syrians fled country in August

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More than 100,000 Syrians fled their country in August, the highest monthly total since the crisis began in March 2011, the U.N. refugee agency said.

That exodus sharply increased the number of Syrians now living in neighboring countries, bringing the total number of refugees to 234,368 in the past 17 months.

But even the August figure only counts refugees who are registered and those awaiting registration. Officials acknowledge the real number of Syrian refugees is likely way above 200,000, because tens of thousands are believed to have not yet contacted authorities.

As Syrians look to escape the bloodshed, Assad told the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross on Tuesday that the group is welcome to operate in Syria — as long as it remains “neutral and independent,” Associated Press reported.

According to the U.N. refugee agency, there are now more than 80,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey, where the borders remain open, and there is a backlog of 8,000 Syrians waiting to be processed at the border, Fleming said. Jordan has more than 77,000 Syrian refugees; Lebanon has more than 59,000; and Iraq nearly 18,700, according to the agency.

The U.N.’s World Food Program spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said more than 264,000 people are taking shelter in public buildings in the Aleppo region — about 200,000 in rural areas and more than 64,000 in the city.

Byrs said her agency is scaling up operations to provide food urgently needed by 1.5 million people this month, mainly in areas where there has been fighting and people have been made at least temporarily homeless.

The head of the main Syrian opposition group called for a massive aid program to help rebuild his country in a post-Assad era, warning that a lack of economic development would open the door to extremism.

It should be added that, unlike neighboring Iraq, Syria lacks vast oil reserves that could kick-start the economy and help finance the reconstruction of infrastructure damaged in the fighting.

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