Dohuk, Iraq, Aug 21, 2013 / 01:08 am
Following recent clashes in Syria between al-Qaeda linked opposition groups and Kurdish forces, 20,000 Syrian refugees have fled to Iraqi Kurdistan – an autonomous region of northern Iraq – in the last six days.
"The factors allowing this sudden movement are not fully clear to us at this stage," said Adrian Edwards, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees spokesman, at an Aug. 16 news briefing.
Around noon on Aug. 15, a group of some 750 Syrian refugees crossed a new bridge across the Tigris River on the border between Syria and Iraq near the Iraqi town of Faysh Khabur. Later that day, another group of between 5,000 and 7,000 people followed.
On Aug. 17, as many as 10,000 refugees entered Iraq at Faysh Khabur, bringing the total number of refugees at the single point to 20,000 in less than a week.