World Bulletin/News Desk
Syrians are pouring across the borders to escape fighting in their homeland and diarrhoeal disease has broken out in rural areas near Damascus, U.N. aid agencies said on Friday.
More than 170,000 Syrians have been registered in the neighbouring countries of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, the U.N. refugee agency said.
Some 3,500 Syrians fleeing the northern areas of Aleppo, Azaz, Idlib and Latakia reached Turkey's Hatay and Kilis provinces between Tuesday and Wednesday, spokesman Adrian Edwards of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.
"There has been a further sharp rise in the number of Syrians fleeing to Turkey," Edwards told a news briefing.
"There are now almost 65,000 Syrians in nine camps in Turkey, though not all yet formally registered. To put this in perspective, about 40 percent arrived in August."
Overnight, more than 1,000 Syrians arrived in Jordan, Edwards said. The UNHCR is working to improve the ratio of people to toilets - currently 40 to one - in Za'atri camp which holds nearly 8,000 of some 47,000 refugees registered in Jordan.
The humanitarian situation in Syria has deteriorated as fighting escalates, cutting off civilians from food supplies, health care and other assistance, aid agencies say.
"Fighting continues in and around other cities in addition to Aleppo, including Homs, Damascus, Deir al-Zor, Idlib and Deraa," said Marianne Gasser, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)'s delegation in Syria.
"Wherever possible, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent helps those trapped in the fighting by evacuating the sick and wounded and by providing emergency aid," she said in a statement.
In recent days, Red Crescent staff distributed aid to 25,000 displaced staying in 62 schools in Damascus, as well as food, mattresses and hygiene kits in cities including Aleppo and Homs.
Some 1.2 million people are uprooted within the country, many staying in schools or other public buildings, UNHCR quoted the U.N. regional humanitarian relief coordinator as saying.
U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, ending a visit to Syria, said on Thursday up to 2.5 million people needed aid in the country, where President Bashar al-Assad's forces have been fighting rebels seeking his overthrow for 17 months.
There has also been an outbreak of diarrhoea among residents in part of the province of Rural Damascus because the water supply has been contaminated by sewage, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
"In one pocket of Rural Damascus there are 103 suspected cases of e.coli. Laboratory testing is still going on," Richard Brennan, director of WHO's emergency risk management and humanitarian response department, told Reuters. "It is due to contamination of the water supply."
"We have heard of other pockets (of diarrhoeal disease) in other areas of Rural Damascus, but have no details," he said.
Sixty-one children under the age of 10 are among the 103 cases discovered by health workers, WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said. Children are particularly vulnerable to diarrhoeal diseases, which require treatment including hydration and antibiotics.
"We know from Syrian authorities that an estimated 38 hospitals and 149 other clinics have been either substantially damaged or destroyed, which clearly worsens the access to health care," Brennan told a news briefing.
The ICRC said its experts were working on water systems in Aleppo, Damascus, Rural Damascus, Deir al-Zor and Homs.
Brigadier-General John Shapland, chief defence attache for the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, raised the idea of extending Israel's anti-missile umbrella in comments to a security conference in the city
South Africa will hold general elections on May 7, new political players are expected to make gains
The planned bridge is expected to be operational within 48 months at a cost of $728 million.
Maher, Adel and Douma had been among the young activists who spearheaded Egypt's January 2011 revolution, which ended autocratic president Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule
In late January, al-Bashir presented his government partners with a proposed reform plan
Refat Chubarov asks for U.S. cooperation amid 'humanitarian and social catastrophe' in Ukraine
Khodorkovsky told university students in Kiev that giving the region the kind of autonomy from Ukraine that Scotland has inside the British state could ease Crimean demands for union with Russia
Nazarbayev, whose Central Asian state has the second largest post-Soviet economy, is a close ally of Putin and backs his plan for integration of old Soviet republics
Russian forces consolidated their hold on Ukraine's Crimea peninsula on Monday, taking over a military hospital and a missile base as officials geared up for a referendum on the region's future
Swiss officials widened their measures to include Yanukovich's son, also called Viktor, and Oleksii Azarov, son of the former prime minister, Mykola Azarov
Rebel forces loyal to Machar have reportedly ransacked and burned the main hospital in Duk County in Jonglei State
Qurei added that Israel would seek to divide the holy site as it did the Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil (Hebron).
The government said the navy and pro-government militias had dispatched boats to stop the tanker from getting out. The rebels said any attack on the vessel would be "a declaration of war
German Foreign Minister is to visit three Baltic EU members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on Tuesday to discuss recent developments in Crimea and possible sanctions against Russia.
The march passed through the city's main streets to the memorial of John Garang, widely considered a founding father of the nascent nation.
The military wing of Palestinian resistance group Hamas vowed to take action against whoever threatened Hamas