The Two-Way
6:34 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Syrian Conflict: Refugees Race To Escape; Battle Goes On In Aleppo

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 10:03 am

  • Anthony Kuhn reporting about Aleppo for 'Morning Edition'

The focus of the battle between the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and opposition fighters remains on the city of Aleppo, where it could be a long, deadly fight before either side can claim victory.

Meanwhile, a refugee crisis continues to build:

-- Jordan has given the U.N. enough land to "provided for 100,000 people," the BBC reports. But at the site, "a dry, hot wind blows across the Jordanian desert, coating a freshly pitched city of tents with a fine film of dust. 'No-one would want to live in a tent here,' admits Andrew Harper, head of the UN's refugee agency, the UNHCR, in Jordan."

The news service adds that "on Saturday night, nearly 2,000 Syrians are reported to have made the increasingly dangerous escape to Jordan, marking what officials describe as a dramatic increase in the exodus."

More are expected to head that way. As The Daily Mail writes, "the United Nations reported that 200,000 people had been forced out of Aleppo. ... Many of them are now heading to Jordan after reports that the country has opened its first refugee camp for those caught up in the fighting."

-- During the Iraq war, Syria sheltered 1.2 million Iraqis. Syrians who have fled in recent weeks to Iraq "expected a warm welcome," The New York Times reports. But instead:

"Alone among Syria's Muslim neighbors, Iraq is resisting receiving refugees from the conflict, and is making those who do arrive anything but comfortable. Baghdad is worried about the fighters of a newly resurgent al-Qaida flowing both ways across the border, and about the Sunni opponents of the two governments making common cause."

Many Syrians who have crossed the border have been "locked up in a school under guard" and not allowed to visit relatives in Iraq, the Times says.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.