A day after the deadliest day in Syria’s civil war, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) asked for additional support from donor countries due to the growing number of refugees fleeing Syria. The current number of people UNHCR expects to seek refuge in neighbouring countries by the end of the year now sits at 700,000.
On Wednesday, over 305 people were reported to have died in Syria as fighting intensified across the country. In Damascus two bomb-blasts targeting the armed forces general staff headquarters left 14 dead, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). SOHR claimed another 55 were killed in the Reef Dimshaq province, 27 in Homs and 44 in Deir Ezzor. These reports cannot be independently verified.
“This is the highest toll in a single day since March 2011. And this is only counting those whose names have been documented. If we count the unidentified bodies, the figure will be much higher,” observatory director, Rami Abdel Rahman, told AFP by telephone. The previous highest death toll was on 19 July, when 302 people were reportedly killed.
As the violence continues, Syrian civilians are fleeing in increasingly larger numbers. According to UNHCR estimates, almost three thousand people flee Syria daily. The UN refugee agency initially asked for $193.2 million in funding to deal with the escalating humanitarian crisis. This figure was revised and the new amount, $487.9 million, was announced Thursday. The number of registered refugees has also increased four-fold since March, when 41,500 refugees were registered and the UN had estimated 100,000 people would become refugees by the end of the year. Currently there are almost 300,000 registered refugees, with thousands more awaiting registration.
Between March and July an estimated 60,000 people fled Syria. From July to September a further 200,000 left.
So far UNHCR has only managed to raise $141.5 million. As the violence escalates more people flood neighbouring countries of Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan. Turkey and Jordan’s refugee camps have already come under great strain.
“Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey have set the example, keeping their borders open for Syrians fleeing violence,” the UNHCR regional coordinator for Syria, Panos Moumtzis, said in a statement. “The neighbouring countries cannot do this alone. The international community must continue to demonstrate solidarity.”