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Syrians flee to Iraq on barges

Saturday, January 11, 2014 - 01:11

Jan. 11 - Syrian refugees take barge to cross newly reopened border in Iraq's Kurdish region. Michaela Cabrera reports.

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Syrian refugees are arriving on Iraq's riverbanks, riding barges. The Peshkhabour border point in Dohuk, about 260 miles northwest of Baghdad, reopened early this month. Syrians are allowed to cross for a few hours everyday and so far, some 4,500 have entered Iraq. The border was closed in September last year, following a mass influx of about 60,000 refugees in August, one of the largest outward migrations in the Syrian war. Thousands used to cross by a bridge, which is no longer in use. This time, the refugees pack into small barges and make a 20 minute journey across the Simelka River. While some are fleeing the conflict and hope to remain in Iraq's Kurdish region, others say they just want to pick up supplies and will soon return to Syria. The UNHCR says Iraq is hosting some 210,000 registered Syrian refugees, and that the re-opening of the Peshkhabour border has brought relief to thousands seeking to escape embattled Syria. Iraq itself, meanwhile, has more than 1 million internally displaced people, who fled sectarian violence.

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Syrians flee to Iraq on barges

Saturday, January 11, 2014 - 01:11