Aug. 20 - Kurdish authorities in Iraq struggle to cope with a massive influx of refugees from Syria, many of them Syrian Kurds. Sunita Rappai reports.
A new refugee camp in Iraq's Kurdistan region as thousands more Syrians flee the country. The UN said nearly 30,000 refugees - many of them Syrian Kurds - had crossed since Thursday, taking advantage of a new pontoon bridge on the largely closed border. This camp near the Kurdish capital of Arbil holds more than 13,000 people. Some 700 tents have been erected and a further 200 are planned while the UN has sent trucks loaded with emergency supplies. This refugee from Syria's Kurdish-populated northeast says he was fleeing attacks from the al-Nusra Front, a radical Sunni Arab rebel group which has merged with Iraq's Al Qaeda. Another says there was a fatwa issued permitting the shedding of Kurdish blood. This refugee says his area was being bombed by both the regime and Al-Nusra and there is no longer any hope of a peaceful resolution to the Syrian conflict. Kurdish President Massoud Barzani, who recently floated the idea of intervening across the border, received a warm welcome when he visited the camp. Officials said two more camps have been opened in Arbil to deal with the influx, each currrently holding 3000 refugees. With many more on their way, authorities have now had to impose a daily quota of 3000 refugees.