* 509,559 Syrian refugees in region, UN agency says
* 3,000 Syrians register abroad each day seeking aid
* Several hundred thousand more estimated to have fled
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA, Dec 11 More than half a million Syrian
refugees are now registered or are waiting to in other Middle
Eastern countries, with about 3,000 new people seeking refugee
status and assistance daily, the United Nations refugee agency
said on Tuesday.
In the last two days alone, 1,000 people have crossed at
night into Jordan, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told a briefing.
"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.
"People are being instantly and violently uprooted and
losing everything they had in a place that was once peaceful,"
The number of registered Syrian refugees region-wide rose by
about 3,200 per day in November, both new arrivals and those who
signed up only once their resources were depleted, it said.
"We are getting increasing numbers of people already in the
countries coming forward," Fleming said.
More Syrians struggling to live in their host country are
expected to come forward as the war continues, their savings are
exhausted and host families can no longer support them.
Lebanon now hosts 154,387 registered Syrian refugees who
have fled the 20-month-old conflict, Jordan has 142,664, Turkey
136,319, Iraq 65,449 and North Africa 11,740, the UNHCR said.
In addition, hundreds of thousands of Syrians are believed
to have crossed into neighbouring countries but not yet come
forward to register for refugee status and assistance, it said.
They include about 100,000 in Jordan, 70,000 each in both
Turkey and Egypt and tens of thousands in Lebanon, it said,
citing government estimates.
The latest estimates indicate that the total number of
Syrians who have fled during the conflict has already surpassed
the 700,000 refugees that UNHCR forecast by year end, although
more than 200,000 of them have not registered formally.
Only 40 percent of the registered Syrian refugees in the
region actually live in refugee camps, the rest are staying in
rental housing, with host families or in collective centres.
In Lebanon there are no camps, while in Turkey all are in 14
government-run camps. There are three camps in Iraq and three in
Jordan, the largest of which is Za'atri with more than 30,000.