Nearly 150,000 Syrian refugees seek UN help

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GENEVA — A rising tide of civilians fleeing Syria’s violence is hitting four neighboring countries where almost 150,000 are being helped in camps run by the U.N. refugee agency and its partners, officials said today.

That figure counts only Syrians who have registered or are in the process of registering as refugees. Officials acknowledge the real number of Syrian refugees is likely above 200,000 since tens of thousands are believed to have not yet registered with authorities.

In late June, U.N. agencies estimated they would need $193 million to help 185,000 refugees from Syria by the end of 2012.

Spokesman Adrian Edwards told reporters today in Geneva that the U.N. refugee agency’s offices in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq have all reported big increases this week in the number of registrants.

The International Organization for Migration said in a report today that more than 1,100 third-country nationals have sought its help to return home from Damascus and that 25 embassies — including those of Indonesia, Sudan and Yemen — have asked it to arrange travel out of Syria for another 3,011 people.

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