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UN: 100,000 Syrians Fled in August


Syrian refugee children play with clay after workers end work at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, September 2, 2012.
The United Nations says 100,000 Syrians fled their country in August, the highest monthly total since the conflict began last year.

U.N. refugee agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said Tuesday the rise in people seeking shelter in neighboring countries brings the total number of Syrian refugees registered or awaiting registration to nearly 235,000 since the government began a violent crackdown on protesters in March 2011.

Fleming called the August exodus "a significant escalation in refugee movement."

Registered Syrian Refugees by Country

Turkey: 50,227
Jordan: 39,600
Lebanon: 35,686
Iraq: 9,053
Source: UNHCR
Her comments came as the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus during a mission to push for better access for aid workers.

Red Cross officials say chief Peter Maurer held 45 minutes of talks with the Syrian leader Tuesday. They did not give further details.

Maurer is on a three-day visit to Damascus for talks on ways to deliver humanitarian aid to Syrians caught up in the civil war.

Syrian state television reported that President Assad told Maurer that he supports the work of the aid group in Syria so long as it remains "impartial and independent."


The Red Cross said earlier that Maurer would address the "rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation" and the difficulties which the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent face in reaching people affected by the country's violence.

On Monday, Syrian activists said a government air strike killed at least 18 people in a residential area in the country's north, while five people died in car bomb blast in a Damascus suburb.

The activists said women and children were among those killed in the air strike in the town of al-Bab. They said other people were feared dead under the rubble of damaged homes.

The car bombing in the Damascus district of Jaramana also wounded at least 27 people.

On the diplomatic front, international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said in an interview with the BBC that he faces a nearly impossible task in trying to resolve Syria's 18-month conflict.
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