Nearly 700 Syrians 'flee to Turkey in single day'

Nearly 700 Syrians 'flee to Turkey in single day'

Nearly 700 Syrian refugees poured into Turkey in 24 hours, bringing to more than 24,000 the total number of Syrians seeking haven in the neighboring country, a Turkish official said on Saturday.

Turkey is home to a growing number of refugees fleeing the unrest in Syria, where more than 9,000 people have been killed since March last year, according to UN figures.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said some 699 refugees crossed the border in a single day.

Last week saw a record number of some 2,800 Syrians entering Turkey in a 36-hour period to escape a helicopter-backed assault by Syrian troops.

The latest surge in the number of arrivals has raised alarm in Turkey, which has urged the United Nations and international community to boost efforts to aid Syrian refugees.

The latest arrivals pushed the number of Syrian refugees on Turkish soil to 24,324, according to official figures provided by the Ankara government.

Fleeing Syrians are mainly housed in the southeastern provinces of Hatay, Gaziantep and Kilis, as government officials ready additional accommodation in Sanliurfa province, located about midway along the 910 kilometre (560 mile) border between Turkey and Syria.

Ankara, a former ally to Damascus, cut off contact with Assad and voiced support for the Syrian opposition and rebels after its calls for an immediate halt to bloodshed went unheeded by the regime.