More than 2,300 people are fleeing to Iraq to escape fighting in northeastern Syria

More than 2,300 people, mostly women and children, have fled fighting in northeastern Syria and crossed into Iraq in recent days, the United Nations said on Friday.

UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic said the organization was "receiving for the fourth consecutive day hundreds of refugees crossing into Iraq from northeastern Syria."

"More than 1,600 Syrian refugees have been relocated from the border areas to the Bardarsh ​​refugee camp," 150 kilometers east of the Syrian-Iraqi border, he said.

But he returned and explained that an additional 734 people were recorded crossing the border at night.

He said most of the refugees came from Kurdish-majority villages in northern Syria, including Kobani (Ain al-Arab), Amuda, al-Qamishli and nearby villages.

Mahisic said the camp was "equipped to receive new arrivals fleeing fighting in northern Syria."

The United Nations estimates that about 166,000 people have been forced from their homes since Turkey launched its latest offensive on 9 October.

But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates are much higher, pointing to the displacement of more than 300,000 civilians, calling it one of the largest displacements since the outbreak of the war in Syria in 2011.

The Observatory says nearly 500 people have been killed, including civilians, the majority on the Kurdish side.

Refugees arriving in Iraq told the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that "it took them days to reach the border to escape the bombing and fighting," Mahisic said.

"The majority of new arrivals are women, children and the elderly," he said, adding that some of them "need psychological care."

He said teams on the ground were providing refugees with hot meals, water and other basic needs.

Meanwhile, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) said it would increase its monthly food aid in northeastern Syria to provide care for some 580,000 people in the region.

"WFP currently has in its warehouses general food aid for more than 500,000 people and ready-to-eat food for 132,000 people," WFP spokesman Herve Ferrocel said, adding that work was under way to increase stocks.


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