34,332 Syrians have fled to Turkey

June 29, 2012 at 11:49 AM
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ANKARA, Turkey, June 29 (UPI) -- More than 34,000 Syrians who fled clashes in their country are staying in Turkey, Turkish officials said Friday.

The Turkish Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate said the 34,332 refugees have been provided lodging, food, health services, security, social activities, religious services, translation services and communications, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

As violence continued in neighboring Syria, 406 Syrians entered Turkey Thursday and Friday and 236 returned to Syria of their own accord those two days, the directorate said.

Syrians in Turkey are staying in the southern provinces of Hatay, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep and Kilis.

Turkey's announcement Friday comes a day after United Nations humanitarian agencies and their partners appealed for $193 million to help Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

"The governments and host communities of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey have shown tremendous generosity and hospitality to Syrian refugees," Panos Moumtzis of the U.N.'s High Commissioner for Refugees said in a news release. "It is essential that the international community steps up its support for relief operations for refugees."

The United Nations estimates more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began 16 months ago and tens of thousands of people have been displaced.

Of about 96,000 Syrian refugees in neighboring countries, 75 percent are women and children, said Moumtzis, UNHCR's regional coordinator for Syrian refugees.

"Most are entirely dependent on life-saving humanitarian assistance," Moumtzis said.

The number of Syrian refugees could double by the end of the year, UNHCR said.

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