In August, over 100,000 Syrians registered with the United Nations as refugees, bringing the registered total to over 250,700 Syrians who have fled their homeland and sought safety in the neighboring states of Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon. There are also estimated to be as many as 100,000 more refugees who have gone directly to friends or relatives in those countries and did not register. Some Syrian refugees have started trickling into Europe to join family there.
As of September 2, there were 80,000 refugees in Turkey, with another 8,000 gathered at the border awaiting entry. Jordan has more than 77,000, Lebanon has over 59,000 and Iraq has 18,700. Turkey and Jordan are prepping for a total of 150,000 refugees each. Additionally, there are estimated to be nearly two million Syrians displaced within the country. In Aleppo and the surrounding region, another 264,000 people are in public shelters.
Syria began this rebellion seventeen months ago with a population of 20.8 million. The death toll has topped 24,000, with 5,000 just in August.
The United Nations High Commission on Refugees estimate of $193 million to care for these refugees is now considered hopelessly inadequate. That figure was based on the belief that only 185,000 Syrians would cross the borders to escape the violence.
The U.N.’s World Food Program spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs reported that the agency is trying to provide food for 1.5 million Syrians inside the country this month.
The newly installed president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Swiss diplomat Peter Maurer, is in Damascus meeting with President Bashar al Assad. Syria’s state media reported that Assad said that the Red Cross is welcome in his country, “as long as it works in a neutral and independent way.” However, all attempts at getting humanitarian aid into the country have been frustrated by the al Assad regime.
The Syrian regime has started bulldozing whole neighborhoods in Damascus, leveling homes and shops, sometimes with bodies inside. They have leveled towns and villages, neighborhoods in the cities of Homs and Aleppo. Witnesses report that soldiers are going house to house and summarily shooting any male of fighting age.
And the regime is not making any headway. Just when they thought they had Damascus under control, bombs went off in an important Army headquarters. If anything, the harder they bear down on the rebellion, the more they are increasing the resistence. Bashar al Assad may believe he is “saving” his country, but saving it for whom? If he survives this war, he and his family will be prisoners for life in their palaces, and there will be very little left for him to rule.