UN sees 4 million needy inside Syria by early 2013

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More than 400,000 Syrian refugees have already crossed into four neighboring countries, though far more who have fled have not registered, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said.

With 11,000 crossing in the past day alone - into Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan - the overall number is on track to reach 700,000 by early 2013, in line with the UNHCR’s forecast issued in late September, officials said.
“The arrival in the last 24 hours is one of the highest in quite some time,” said Panos Moumtzis, UNHCR regional coordinator. "The number crossing the border has a direct correlation with the level of security and insecurity inside Syria.”

Half the refugees are women and children, many traumatized by the bombing and violence they have witnessed.

“They tell us of increased violence, feeling their lives are under threat and having no other choice but to flee with no other clothes but what they are wearing” Moumtzis said.

A medical aid group, the Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organizations, said on Wednesday Syrian troops were seizing foreign aid and reselling it or channeling it towards government loyalists, putting millions of lives at risk.

Lauren Landis of the WFP said that distribution of aid was monitored and that any suspected diversion was investigated.

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