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Syria Refugee Photos Show Terrifying Extent Of Crisis

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Shocking images released by the United Nations' Refugee Agency on Monday reveal the enormity of Syria's lingering refugee crisis.

Nearly 30,000 Syrians have crossed the border into Iraq's Kurdish region since Thursday, making it one of the largest crossings since the Syrian conflict began in March 2011. As the photos below show, waves of refugees continue to flow across narrow paths in a flash-flood of human beings.

According to UNHCR, nearly 3,000 people crossed the border across the Tigris river on Monday alone, with about 6,000 Syrians entering Iraq on Sunday and another 20,000 between Thursday and Saturday.

Syrians stream from their war-torn country into Iraq’s Kurdistan region
(Photo by UNHCR/G. Gubaeva)

Syrians stream from their war-torn country into Iraq’s Kurdistan region
(Photo by UNHCR/G. Gubaeva)

Syrians stream from their war-torn country into Iraq’s Kurdistan region
(Photo by UNHCR/G. Gubaeva)

Syrians stream from their war-torn country into Iraq’s Kurdistan region
(Photo by UNHCR/G. Gubaeva)

Syrians stream from their war-torn country into Iraq’s Kurdistan region
(Photo by UNHCR/G. Gubaeva)

"Syrian refugees are still pouring into Iraq's northern Kurdish region in huge numbers, and most of them are women and children," a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency in Iraq's Kurdish region, Youssef Mahmoud told the Associated Press on Monday.

Most of the refugees appear to be Syrian Kurds, the AP notes, though the reason why so many have fled en masse this week remains unclear. Kurds constitute the largest minority in Syria, about 10 percent of the country's 23 million people.

Nearly 2 million Syrians have fled the war-torn country for Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon since the start of the conflict between opposition groups and forces loyal to President Bashar Assad. In July, the U.N.'s High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said Syrians are leaving at rates not seen since the Rwandan genocide.

U.N. aid chief Valerie Amos added that the world was "not only watching the destruction of a country but also of its people."

"The security, economic, political, social, development and humanitarian consequences of this crisis are extremely grave and its human impact immeasurable in terms of the long term trauma and emotional impact on this and future generations of Syrians," Amos told the U.N. Security Council in July.