Aug. 17 - The United Nations says thousands of Syrian refugees poured into the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq this week, taking advantages of a new border bridge. Sunita Rappai reports.
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Thousands of Syrian refugees pour into the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq on Thursday, taking advantage of a new bridge along the largely closed border.
The United Nations said up to 7,000 refugees followed a first group of some 750 people who crossed the pontoon bridge at Peshkhabour over the Tigris River.
Most were families with women, children and the elderly, mainly from Aleppo and other embattled areas where fighting has intensified in recent months.
There are already more than 150,000 Syrian refugees registered in Iraq, according to the UNHCR, which is urging Syria's neighbours to keep their borders open.
The border between Syria and Iraq had been largely closed since Kurdish regional authorities shut the crossing on May 19, though some Syrian refugees had been allowed in on humanitarian grounds.
The bloody civil war in Syria, now in its third year, has driven nearly two million to escape the country.
But the flow of refugees overall has dropped sharply since a peak earlier this year when up to 8,000 crossed every day into neighbouring countries, the UNHCR said.
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