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Syrian refugees move to camp set up for them in Iraq

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The Iraqi government and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have set up a camp for refugees from the Syrian conflict in Qaim city in western Iraq.

More than 500 refugees from the Syrian conflict recently arrived at a camp set up by Iraq’s Ministry of Migration and Displacements and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the western Iraqi province of Anbar.

One man hoping to visit relatives living in Iraq said the camp facilities met the refugees’ needs.

“Everything is available to us and we do not need anything except the mercy of God,” Mohammed al-Shammari, who had come across the border from Syria, said.

But some of the refugees called for better health care for children at the camp.

“The children do not get healthy nutrition, they eat adults’ food, they are suffering from diarrhea,” refugee Ayad al-Ali, said.

Ali said water supply service to the camp were inadequate. He explained that the water truck’s hose was too short to reach water storage tanks at the camp, so the refugees were dependent on visits by fire-fighters who could fill up the storage tanks with water. He said the storage tanks supplying water in the toilets were broken.

“We have not had any water since yesterday at noon. We cannot get water without help of the fire-fighters who come here every two or three days to fill tanks since the hose of the tanker is very short to reach the storage tanks. The storage tanks of the toilets are broken. We fill the tanks with water every night but we find them empty in the morning,” said Ali.

Iraqi soldiers were on hand to ensure the safe arrival of refugees at Qaim camp, which can accommodate up to 5000 people.

About 15,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria have arrived in Iraq.

More than 170,000 Syrian refugees have been registered in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, UNHCR has said.

Humanitarian conditions in Syria have deteriorated as fighting worsens, cutting off civilians from food supplies, health care and other assistance, U.N. agencies say. Sewage-contaminated water has led to a diarrhea outbreak in the countryside around Damascus, with 103 suspected cases.