Syrian refugees flee to Iraq en masse

The U.S. is grateful to Iraq for providing protection, assistance and hospitality to approximately 30,000 Syrians who crossed into the country last week, the U.S. State Department said on Monday.

Jen Psaki, the spokesperson for the State Department, made the statement on Monday during her daily press briefing. When asked about U.N. reports that more than 30,000 Syrian refugees fled to Iraq over the course of five days, Psaki said the U.S. was aware of the reports. She said reports found the crossing reception and processing of the new arrivals went smoothly thanks to help from the U.N., non-governmental organization partners, the International Organization for Migration and local government officials.

Psaki said the U.S. was deeply grateful to Iraq and the Kurdistan regional government.

"We also appreciate the efforts of the Kurdistan regional government to open the border, and remain deeply grateful to Iraq and other countries in the region that are providing protection, assistance, and hospitality to the nearly two million refugees who have fled the violence inside Syria," Psaki said.

Psaki also announced that Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford would meet in The Hague this week with their Russian counterparts to discuss the as of yet unscheduled Geneva II conference. Geneva II could potentially serve as a vehicle for moving towards a political solution between Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime and the Syrian opposition.