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Refugee flows to Greece surge, UN says Russian airstrikes not to blame

Reuters , Friday 23 Oct 2015
Refugees
Refugees and migrants on a dinghy approach the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos after traveling from the Turkish coast, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 (Photo: AP)
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Immigration flows to Greece surged to 48,000 in the five days to Oct. 21, the highest weekly total so far this year, bringing the number of Mediterranean migrant arrivals in Europe to 681,000 the International Organization for Migration said on Friday.

Amin Awad, the Middle East director for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, said Russian airstrikes and increased fighting around the Syrian city of Aleppo had contributed to the "dynamic of displacement", with about 50,000 displaced, but had not contributed much to the refugee exodus.

But he said the number of internally diplaced people within Syria had fallen from 7.6 million people to 6.3 million, a decline that could be attributed to the refugee flows to Europe, as well as people being missed from the latest count. (Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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