Tide fleeing Syria swells
A handout picture released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network on July 19, 2012 shows Syrians inspecting destroyed houses in Dael in the southern province of Daraa on July 18, 2012.
July 20th, 2012
12:00 AM ET

Tide fleeing Syria swells

By Jill Dougherty

Desperate Syrians are fleeing their country in growing numbers, some even being shot at from behind as they abandon their cities and villages.

"In the course of just one night nearly 1,300 civilians arrived at Turkish camps and there are now reports of upwards of 8,500 Syrians who crossed the border into Lebanon in the last 24 hours," said Kelly Clements, deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

Clements joined Maria Otero, under secretary of state for civilian security, democracy, and human rights, and Mark Bartolini, director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, to brief reporters by phone Thursday on U.S. efforts to provide aid to civilians still in Syria and to refugees who are flowing over the Syrian border into the neighboring countries of Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.

Currently, the officials say, there are 42,600 Syrian refugees in Turkey in camps along the border, 37,000 in Jordan, 32,500 in Lebanon and 8,000 in Iraq.

Another 1.5 million Syrians need humanitarian help inside the country, they said.

"Inside Syria, lack of access due to violence by all parties remains the number one limiting factor for humanitarian assistance," Clements said. "International humanitarian agencies simply are unable to reach those most in need. We urge all parties to facilitate unimpeded access to affected areas and populations for humanitarian agencies."

Bartolini said from 300,000 to 500,000 Syrians have been displaced from their homes. Providing aid is "incredibly difficult," he said, and there are numerous reports of aid workers being harassed, killed and taken captive.

So far, the United States has provided $64 million in humanitarian assistance and officials say "more is coming."

The United States is working through international aid organizations because those groups already had staff and structures in place in Syria and neighboring countries prior to the conflict. Those organizations include the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, UNICEF, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Food Program, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.

During her visits to Turkey and Jordan, Otero said, she saw men, women and children in need of food, medical help and psychological counseling. Some had been wounded in the fighting, and some had missing limbs.

Otero said she met with a woman who had been hit with a bullet that went through her eye and out her cheek.

"There are really heroic efforts going on right now inside of Syria to help people most in need," Bartolini added. "We are having an impact. We are not reaching everyone but we are doing the best we can and are hopeful we will get more access."

soundoff (43 Responses)
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    July 21, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Reply
    • Nixon

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      September 10, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Reply
  7. RLTJ's

    I think that points where U.N. can do best in the situation. To setup humanitarian centers for Syrians, in the territories of Turkey, Iran, Lebanon and Israel.

    July 20, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Reply
  8. George Patton

    If the Arab League and the NATO countries, including the U.S. would only quit aiding and abetting these self-styled Syrian "liberators", the civil war in that country would end and this flood of humanity would cease. Unfortunately, the Washington bureaucrats couldn't care less!!!

    July 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Reply
    • larry brock

      man are you clueless...look at Libya...first vote in 40 years...Syria will be the same very shortly...how would you like to live in a dictatorship...you are taking your freedom for granted

      July 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Reply
      • CelestialOne

        So what ? Libya is in a mess thanks to NATO. Is it any wonder US popularity is the lowest in the Middle East besides Israel.

        July 21, 2012 at 3:25 am |
  9. saeed

    like i said usa britain and israel should fiks there own countrys first just today Moshe Silman di,ed in israel after setting himself on fire because of the economic situation in israel also in britain there have been people that have set them selfs on fire so the only thing i will say is go home grin,gos to your baked potato and sausages dinner.

    July 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Reply
    • saeedTheTowelHead

      Baaaaaaaaaaaaaah, Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaddy?

      July 20, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  10. Syria smells?

    Get more Tide!!!!!

    July 20, 2012 at 10:23 am | Reply
  11. heretodaytomarow

    ITS OK TO MAKE A CHANGE...

    July 20, 2012 at 9:56 am | Reply
  12. I want to see Robme's Tax Returns

    He's hiding something. You know he is.

    July 20, 2012 at 9:22 am | Reply
    • George Patton

      Of course he is! Only a complete fool would think otherwise!!!

      July 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Reply
      • larry brock

        why..in hell...would you not want these syrians to live in a democracy...and you call yourself George Patton

        July 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  13. terranstarcaptain

    The wouldn't be a war if foreign aggression against Syria by NATO/GCC members wasn't fueling the conflict with money, mercenaries, weapons, and other illegal support.

    July 20, 2012 at 1:51 am | Reply
  14. John Hix

    For once I would like see responsible reporting as to how much support is being provided by other nations such as Israel or the UAE.

    July 20, 2012 at 12:47 am | Reply
    • Larry Roth

      Hey John Hix,
      You sound like a republican. You will believe any 2 bit conspiracy theory. Are you a member of the Flat Earth society?

      July 21, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Reply

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