Syrian refugee crisis getting out of control
This is what happens when you start bombing and shelling big cities.
Syrian army bombardments killed 21 people in a Damascus suburb on Friday in an intensifying civil war that the U.N. refugee agency said had prompted more than 200,000 people to flee the country.
"There are lots of bodies trapped in destroyed buildings and civilians are trying to flee towards Damascus," an activist in Daraya, who gave his name as Abu Kinan, told Reuters by phone.
In an accelerating exodus, more than 3,500 Syrians crossed into Turkey in the past 24 hours, Turkish officials said, one of the highest daily totals since initially peaceful protests against President Bashar al-Assad erupted in March 2011.
"In Jordan, a record 2,200 people crossed the border overnight and were received at Zaatari camp in the north," Adrian Edwards, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said in Geneva.
Assad's forceful response to unrest inspired by Arab uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere has spawned an armed insurrection and plunged Syria into a civil war in which over 18,000 people have been killed, according to a U.N. estimate.
There was no let-up in the violence on Friday, the Muslim holy day that has often been a focus for anti-Assad protests.
The Syrian army pounded the Damascus suburb of Daraya, where the 21 deaths reported by opposition activists brought the toll from a three-day-old military assault to at least 70.
Assad's forces are trying to regain control of the capital's outlying districts such as Daraya, a Sunni Muslim working class township that sprawls among farmlands where insurgents often take refuge after attacking government troops.
Troops fired multiple rocket launchers and artillery at Daraya, where rebels were still holed up, activists said.
In Aleppo, the situation is dire. More than a quarter of a million people have fled the city with little food and no shelter. Many are trying to make their way to nearbyTurkey while most have settled in makeshift camps outside of the city. Needless to say, international organization are finding it very difficult to help given the fierce fighting in the city.