Syrian refugees stream into Iraq
August 20, 2013 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
- Around 30,000 people have fled to Iraq in recent days
- The U.N. refugee agency calls the flight an "exodus"
- Many refugees are also in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt
(CNN) -- Around 30,000 Syrians have fled to Iraq's Kurdistan region in the past five days, and the influx is continuing, the United Nations' refugee agency said.
It started Thursday, when Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government opened a temporary pontoon bridge.
Since then, thousands have swarmed into the country to escape the fighting and economic calamities of the Syrian civil war.
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Previously, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees had registered 155,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq. The agency says the latest "exodus" is "among the largest we have so far seen during the conflict."
The U.N. refugee agency and its partner teams are working to provide shelter and distribute food, water and supplies, such as tents and portable latrines.
The agency said last week there were more than 684,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, 516,000 in Jordan, 434,000 in Turkey, and 107,000 in Egypt, the agency said.
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