Syrians Flee Into Iraq

The U.N. refugee agency said on Aug. 19 that some 30,000 Syrians had streamed into northern Iraq and thousands more were waiting to enter. “This new exodus from Syria is among the largest we have so far seen during the conflict, which is now into its third year,” said Dan McNorton, a U.N. spokesperson. “As well as people who told us they were fleeing recent bombings, others say they were escaping fighting and tension amongst various factions on the ground.” The influx began in mid-August when the Kurdistan Regional Government authorities in northern Iraq suddenly opened access to a pontoon bridge, allowing several hundred people camped in the area since earlier last week to enter Iraq. By the following morning thousands had swarmed across the swaying bridge. The tide of refugees continued as reports emerged of high casualties following an alleged chemical weapons attack in Damascus over a neighborhood controlled by Syrian rebels.

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