11 Nov 2012

Thousands flee Syria in major refugee exodus

9:07 am on 11 November 2012

Thousands of Syrians fled their country on Friday in one of the biggest refugee exoduses of the 20 month war after rebels seized a border town.

Rebels overran the frontier town of Ras al-Ain late on Thursday, continuing a drive that has already seen them push Assad's troops from much of the north and seize several crossing points, a rebel commander and opposition sources said.

The United Nations said 11,000 refugees had fled in 24 hours, most to Turkey but also to Lebanon and Jordan, bringing to more than 400,000 the number of Syrian refugees registered or being assisted in the region.

Syria's divided opposition was meeting in Qatar, under increasing pressure from the United States and Qatar to unite and form a credible body capable of ruling the country effectively if President Bashar al-Assad falls, Reuters reports.