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Iraqi Kurdistan Sets Quota As Refugees Flee Syria Clashes


Aid agencies say Iraq's Kurdish regional government has set an entry quota of 3,000 refugees a day to cope with a growing number of Kurds fleeing the civil war in Syria.

The UN refugee agency said on August 19 that some 30,000 refugees, mainly Syrian Kurds, had poured into Iraq since August 15.

Jumbe Omari Jumbe of the International Organization for Migration told reporters in Geneva that 3,000 refugees will be allowed in on August 20.

Jumbe said that on August 19, although a similar quota had been set, almost 5,000 refugees were allowed to cross.

Syrian Kurds fear attacks by various armed rebel groups after fresh fighting broke out between Kurdish militias and Al-Qaeda-linked rebels in northeastern Syria.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the clashes on August 20 pitted the Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People against two groups connected with Al-Qaeda -- the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, as well as the Al-Nusra Front.

The group said fighting was focused on three villages near the town of Ras al-Ayn in the predominantly Kurdish province of Hassakeh.

The massive refugee influx has severely strained Kurdistan's regional government in northern Iraq.

Earlier this month, Kurdish Iraqi leader Masud Barzani threatened to intervene in Syria to protect the country's large Kurdish population from jihadists.

The UN estimates that almost 2 million people have fled Syria during the 29-month conflict.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP
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