- uploaded: Aug 24, 2013
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The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says more than 40,000 Syrians fled their country to seek refuge in Iraq's Kurdistan region in recent days amid escalating violence by Takfiri militants. "Since Thursday last week, we believe that 42,000 Syrians have now swept across Syria's far northeast border into Iraq," said Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the UNHCR, on Friday. On August 15, Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region opened a crossing on its Tigris River border with Syria to the Syrian refugees. Most of the refugees are Syrian Kurds, who fled Syria following attacks by foreign-backed Takfiri militants in the country. The influx of the Syrian Kurd refugees to Iraq's Kurdistan region comes after al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front started attacks on several Kurdish-majority areas in northern and northeastern Syria, killing a large number of civilians, including many women and children. "The numbers have been coming down, and we expect that trend to continue. But it's obviously contingent on the situation across the border in northern Syria itself," Edwards explained. "It's not really clear until the morning of each day how many people are likely to be coming over," he added. On Monday, the UNHCR said that more than 30,000 Syrians have crossed the border into the Kurdistan region over the past week. It also said that an estimated 5,000 Syrians entered the region on Monday alone. Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. A very large number of the militants operating inside Syria are reportedly foreign nationals. According to reports, the West and its regional allies - especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey - are supporting the militants inside Syria.