UN body: Around half-million Syrians now refugees

UN body: Around half-million Syrians now refugees

Credit: AFP/Getty Images

A Syrian family erects their tent at the Bab al-Salam refugee camp on the Syrian-Turkish border on January 1, 2013. Turkey, which supports the insurgency, is housing a total of some 150,000 Syrian refugees at camps near the border. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

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Associated Press

Posted on January 2, 2013 at 9:04 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 2 at 12:52 PM

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. refugee agency says about 84,000 people fled the escalating civil war in Syria in December alone, bringing the total number of those displaced since the beginning of the 22-month-old conflict to around half a million.

The agency said Wednesday that the number of registered refugees rose from about 394,000 to 478,000 within a month. If those still awaiting registration are included, around 569,000 people have fled Syria for neighboring countries.

It says Turkey hosts the largest group of registered Syrian refugees, totaling almost 150,000 as of Jan. 1. Some 130,000 people have fled to Lebanon, and another 120,000 to Jordan. Iraq hosts some 68,000 refugees.

Separately, another U.N. body said new figures suggest more than 60,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict, topping activists' estimate of 45,000.

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