Over 1,700 Syrian refugees have crossed over into Iraq in the last 24 hours, the Norwegian Refugee Council says quoting Kurdish authorities.
This is the largest number of people to make the crossing from Syria to Iraq in a day, adding to the over 7,140 people that have crossed since Turkey started military operations in North Eastern Syria.
Refugees have told NRC that they are fleeing in the dead of night navigating streets strewn with corpses and being asked to pay up to $500 (€449) per person to cross the border. Those unable to pay the fee to smugglers are left inside Syria. NRC states that since Turkey’s military action around 165,000 people have been displaced so far.
While humanitarian operations in Syria have been suspended, those in Iraq are being upscaled in preparation for the arrival of up to 50,000 Syrian refugees in the months to come.
NRC says that it is bolstering it operations for the daily arrivals as well as providing drinking water at the border and child friendly spaces at the Bardarash camp. The camp can host over 6,900 people.
NRC’s Iraq Country Director Rishana Haniffa, has appealed to the Iraqi authorities to allow Syrian refugees to enter the country.
‘We’re seeing hundreds arriving into Iraq every day and we expect more to arrive, not only because of the fighting but also because of the fear of what is going to happen next … Syrians who wish to cross to safety in Iraq must be allowed to do so, without any delay.’