Syrians who fled the Turkish military operation in Syria as they arrive at Bardarash refugee camp in Iraq | Photo: EPA/GAILAN
Syrians who fled the Turkish military operation in Syria as they arrive at Bardarash refugee camp in Iraq | Photo: EPA/GAILAN

UNHCR reports that thousands of Syrian refugees have arrived in Iraq over the past week. The majority of them were fleeing the Turkish offensive in northeastern Syria. Three out four of these refugees are reportedly women and children.

More than 7,100 Syrian refugees arrived in Iraq within just seven days, UNHCR said in a press release on Tuesday. Among these refugees, three out of four are reportedly women and children.  A majority of them hails from northeastern Syria.


"Most of them - just under 7,000 - are sheltered at the Bardarash refugee camp, some 140 kilometres east of the Iraqi-Syrian border," UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said.

Turkey launched an offensive in the northeast of Syria earlier this month. According to the UN, this led to the displacement of at least 176,000 people. A week and a half ago, a cease-fire deal was reached, but international observers have reportedly witnessed multiple breaches of that cease-fire. 

Refugees in need of psychosocial support 

UNHCR said that some of the people fleeing northeastern Syria, especially children, are in need of psycho-social support. 

The UN agency said that it is providing "a range of services that start [at] the border" to the new refugees in Iraq in cooperation with partners and local authorities. "These include reception, provision of hot meals, transportation to the camp, registration, shelter and protection services," it said.

228,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq prior to latest arrivals 

UNHCR said that while Bardarash camp already has a water network, an electricity grid and a sewage system, these networks need to be expanded as more refugees arrive to the camp. 

According to the refugee agency, some 228,000 Syrian refugees were already living in Iraq prior to the latest arrivals. That's because a war has been raging in Syria for the past eight years. 
 

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