Syrian refugees in Turkey exceed 200,000

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The number of Syrians fleeing clashes in their country and residing in Turkey has exceeded 200, 000, an official of the Syrian National Council's Executive Committee said Saturday.

"I guess the number of Syrians staying in Turkey have reached almost 250,000, including the ones who entered Turkey by their passports," Mahmud Osman, a member of Syrian National Council's Executive Committee, told Xinhua, adding that the figure was not official.

A total of 144,755 Syrian refugees are currently staying in Turkey after fleeing the months-long violence in their country, a Turkish official statement said Friday.

The statement, issued by the Turkish Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD), said more than 200, 000 Syrians fled to Turkey so far, but 59,100 of them returned back.

Turkey has set up five tent cities in Hatay, two in Sanliurfa, three in Gaziantep and one each in Osmaniye, Kahramanmaras and Adiyaman and one container city in Kilis.

As Turkey keeps up open door policy for thousands of Syrians fleeing from violence in their country, Ankara has called on international community for assistance when the number of Syrians sheltered in Turkey exceeded 100,000.

Turkish representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Carol Batchelor said Friday that they could only finance 500 million U.S. dollars for a plan of helping Syrian refugees, Turkey's semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

The Syria Regional Response Plan, prepared by the UNHCR, sets out the funding needs for 1 billion U.S. dollars. So far, about half of the sum has not been procured, raising concerns over the Syrian refugees' conditions in the winter.

Batchelor said that the issue was being discussed in the UN Security Council, with no official decision made yet.

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