Over 30,000 Syrian refugees enter Iraq's Kurdistan region: UNHCR
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has announced that more than 30,000 Syrians fled the country to seek refuge in Iraq's Kurdistan region in recent days.
On Monday, the UNHCR reported one of the most massive influxes of Syrians fleeing the violence in the country, saying that an estimated 5,000 Syrians entered Iraq's Kurdistan region on the same day alone.
"It appears we will be in the range of an estimated 5,000 people today [Monday]," AFP quoted Peter Kessler, a spokesman for UNHCR, as saying.
"That takes the estimated number to more than 30,000" since Thursday, he said.
Kessler said that the UN had dispatched 2,100 tents, two prefabricated warehouses, and water containers for the refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Kessler further described the movement as the biggest since November 2012 when approximately 9,000 Syrians crossed into Turkey.
Meanwhile, Iraqi officials, who are seeing such a huge movement from Syria for the first time, have expressed concerns over providing refugees with essential infrastructures.
"I've never seen something like Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, with the huge numbers," said Emily Dakin, Iraq country director for the International Rescue Committee.
"People are scrambling to put in necessary infrastructure such as latrines, make sure there is enough water, doing very basic distribution, blankets, mattresses, all that kind of thing," she said.
The sudden influx of refugees has also made the Kurdish region's authorities call for national and international support.
"The number (of refugees) is increasing constantly," said Dindar Zebari, the deputy chief of the Iraqi Kurdish foreign affairs department.
"The international community, the UN as well as the Iraqi government should fulfill their obligations toward the refugees and provide help for them."
Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the Takfiri militants operating inside Syria.
According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and a total of 7.8 million displaced in Syria due to the violence.