UN Refugee Chief gravely concerned over Syrians displaced by violenceListen /
Within the past 48 hours, it's estimated that tens of thousands of Syrians have fled the violence in their country and crossed into Lebanon, according to the UN refugee agency.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has expressed growing concern for the exodus and has a team in the field verifying the numbers and assessing the needs of newly arrived Syrians.
Within Syria, UNHCR estimates as many as 1 million people are displaced.
Spokesperson Melissa Fleming says despite the security challenges, UNHCR staff continues to man hotlines and that offices in Damascus, Aleppo and Al Hassekeh remain open.
"Last week, for example, an entire Iraqi family of seven were found dead in their apartment in Damascus, while three other refugees were killed by gunfire. So we are doing the best we can with our staff there trying to receive calls and to respond. We've received hundreds of calls from frightened refugees, and what they are reporting is direct threats, often death threats." (Duration: 23")
UNHCR is launching a project of one-time cash assistance for 25,000 Syrian families, something the refugee agency also did for Iraqi refugees.