Syrian refugee numbers top 509,000 – UN

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More than half a million Syrian refugees are now registered or are waiting to do so in Middle Eastern countries, with about 3,000 more people seeking refugee status and assistance daily, the United Nations refugee agency has said.

In the last two days alone, 1,000 people have crossed at night into Jordan, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said yesterday.

“They arrived in very bad weather, their clothing soaked, shoes covered in mud,” she said. “UNHCR teams have described them as fearful, freezing and without proper winter clothing.”

According to UNHCR’s latest figures for Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and North Africa, 509,559 Syrians are either already registered (425,160) or in the process of being registered as refugees requiring international assistance.

In addition, hundreds of thousands of Syrians are believed to have crossed into neighbouring countries but have not yet come forward to register for refugee status and get assistance, the agency said.