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UN Says Syrian Refugees in Nearby States Exceed 500,000

Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) -- More than 500,000 Syrians have registered as refugees in neighboring countries, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said today.

Almost 510,000 people have registered or are in the process of registering in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and North Africa, according to Melissa Fleming, UNHCR chief spokeswoman, according to an e-mailed statement. The number is rising at a rate of 3,000 a day, she said.

“Syrian refugees arriving during recent bad weather reached Jordan with soaked clothing and mud-covered shoes due to heavy rainfall,” she said. “UNHCR protection teams described the night-time arrivals as fearful, freezing and without proper winter clothing.”

Many more Syrians have arrived in neighboring states and have not registered, living instead with host families or in rented accommodation. Jordan alone told the UN that this may amount to an additional 100,000 Syrians.

Syria, which has suffered a 21-month civil conflict, has a population of about 22.5 million, according to the Central Intelligence Agency website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Donna Abu-Nasr in Beirut at dabunasr@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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