UNHCR Briefing Notes – Syria

Geneva, 13.09.2013

  August sees big increase in Syrians arriving in southern Europe

This is a summary of what was said by the UNHCR spokesperson at

today’s Palais des Nations press briefing in Geneva.


UNHCR is seeing a sharp increase in Syrians arriving by boat in

southern Italy. Over the past 40 days 3,300 Syrians, of whom more than

230 were unaccompanied children, have come ashore mainly in Sicily. Some

670 of these arrivals were during the past week.


More than 30 boat arrivals have been involved. The majority have come

from Egypt, although some started their journeys from Turkey. Most of

the arrivals have been families with children. Several people have

needed hospital treatment for dehydration, and there have been instances

of people having to be airlifted directly from the boat they were

traveling on.


Last week a nurse, from Damascus, died as she crossed with her husband

and children. Her husband gave permission for her liver and kidneys to

be used for three patients in Italy seeking organ transplants.


UNHCR estimates that over 4,600 Syrians have arrived in Italy by sea

since the beginning of 2013. A full two thirds of these arrivals have

been in August.


Syrians our staff spoke said they came mainly from Damascus, with many

being Palestinian refugees born in Syria. On arrival, people are taken

to reception centres. In recent months many Syrians have moved on from

countries at the European Union’s external borders to other parts of



According to our figures as of 6 September 21,870 people have arrived

in southern Italy so far in 2013. This is a significant increase on

levels in 2012 when 7,981 people arrived. The main nationalities have

been Eritreans 5,778 (594 in 2012), Somalis 2,571 (1,280 in 2012) and

now Syrians 3,970 (369 in 2012).



Gisèle Nyembwe

Public Information Associate

Collaboratrice adjointe chargée de l’information

UNHCR Canada

Tel: (613) 232-0909 ext. 225

Mobile: (613) 986-4300

We believe 1 family torn apart by war is too many.

Tell the world you do too: http://www.unhcr.org/1family?link=email



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