Nightly News   |  September 03, 2013

Syrian refugees look to America for help

NBC’s Richard Engel reports on the difficulties and extreme conditions facing the refugees who have fled Syria, a number that the UN reports to be more than 2 million people.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> in the meantime, syria has become a catastrophe. there's a continuing flood of people desperate to get out of there. the u.n. said today, two million people have now fled from syria into neighboring countries at a rate of just about 5,000 people every day. almost half a million of the refugees have gone to turkey, where the refugee camps are now overflowing. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel has our report from turkey tonight.

>> reporter: syrian refugees today, carrying everything they could, escaping the war. they walked out, limped out, and were wheeled out at the official border crossing from syria to turkey. 17-year-old maran left with her parents. she hasn't been to school in a year.

>> we are hoping for help from the united states , from any country.

>> reporter: the u.n. says more than 2 million refugees have fled syria , there are many more than that. no one is counting these men who walked through a hole in a fence.

>> we took a tractor over a muddy road and found a modern down underground railroad into turkey. a metal raft pulled hand over hand by a rope. the river is the border here. and the little raft shuttled back and forth day and night . this man came across to scout out a home for his family.

>> many of the buildings in my village have been destroyed. most of the people have been killed by the regime. 350 refugees moved into this public park . they had to, the government camps are full. here there's no water, no toilets, no services of any kind. no treatment for 4-month-old helem, born with a hole in his heart. no treatment for 1-year-old walid wounded by shrapnel.

>> reporter: this man was a cotton farmer, now he's homeless. his daughter lost an earring crossing the river in that tub. she's just three, sick with dysentery.

>> we want america to attack today, not tomorrow. nobody is helping, we have no hope left, but for america, he says. these refugees are putting so much hope in the united states , not because it's the only country that can help, but they see russia against them, the syrian government bombing them. and europe and the arab world just talking. at a nearby mosque, about 300 syrians packed into the courtyard. their hope is, that if the u.s. attacks, president assad will fall, maybe. but they don't have much else