News / Middle East

UN: More Than 250,000 Have Fled Syria

A Syrian refugee holds his child as he sits by his tent at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, September 9, 2012.A Syrian refugee holds his child as he sits by his tent at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, September 9, 2012.
x
A Syrian refugee holds his child as he sits by his tent at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, September 9, 2012.
A Syrian refugee holds his child as he sits by his tent at Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, September 9, 2012.
The United Nations says the number of refugees who have fled Syria has reached more than 250,000, calling the humanitarian problems sparked by the conflict "our biggest crisis."

The U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday there are more than 85,000 Syrians registered in Jordan, nearly 78,500 in Turkey, 67,000 in Lebanon and 22,500 in Iraq.

Syrian Refugees by Country

  • Jordan: 85,000
  • Turkey: 78,500
  • Lebanon: 67,000
  • Iraq: 22,500

Source: UNHCR
Agency spokeswoman Sybella Wilkes says the numbers are increasing "by the thousands every day." She said UNHCR's two main priorities are for neighboring countries to keep their borders open and for a "dramatic increase" in international support to facilitate the effective accommodation of refugees.

Wilkes described the conditions in Jordanian refugee camps - where 27,000 Syrians are sheltering in tents - as "unacceptable." She warned that the searing heat of summer will soon give way to harsh winter weather and praised Jordanians for opening up their homes to fleeing Syrian refugees.

Jolie visits camp

The U.N. refugee agency's special envoy, actress Angelina Jolie, speaks during a news conference with U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres (L) at a refugee camp in Jordan, Sept 11, 2012.The U.N. refugee agency's special envoy, actress Angelina Jolie, speaks during a news conference with U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres (L) at a refugee camp in Jordan, Sept 11, 2012.
x
The U.N. refugee agency's special envoy, actress Angelina Jolie, speaks during a news conference with U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres (L) at a refugee camp in Jordan, Sept 11, 2012.
The U.N. refugee agency's special envoy, actress Angelina Jolie, speaks during a news conference with U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres (L) at a refugee camp in Jordan, Sept 11, 2012.
Special UNHCR envoy, actress Angelina Jolie, is touring Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp along with U.N. refugee chief Antonio Guterres and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

Jolie said Tuesday she heard "horrific" and "heartbreaking" accounts from Syrian refugees who fled the civil war in their country.

"I am very concerned, the world is very concerned," the Hollywood star said during her high-profile visit aimed at focusing international attention on the plight of Syrian refugees and attracting more funding to help them. "What is very heartbreaking is when Syrian people ask you why you think no one is able to find a solution for them."

Guterres said the "camp needs massive international funding."

Aleppo fighting

Click to EnlargeClick to Enlarge
x
Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge
Also Tuesday, activists said Syrian troops pounded the northern city of Aleppo to thwart a rebel advance. Violence and bloodshed were reported in other parts of Syria as peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi was set to meet members of the Syrian opposition in Cairo ahead of a planned visit to Damascus for talks with officials.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague was also in Cairo for talks with President Mohamed Morsi on Syria, amid heightened diplomacy in the Egyptian capital where Syrian neighbors also gathered to discuss the conflict.

The first meeting of a regional contact group took place late Monday in Cairo with delegations from Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia gathering to discuss the deteriorating situation in Syria.

On Monday, Syrian rebels posted an Internet video that appears to show the bodies of 20 soldiers whom they executed in Aleppo.

In the video, the bodies of men dressed in military fatigues can be seen lined up on a pavement with their heads bloodied. The men were blindfolded and handcuffed. Rebels also can be heard calling the dead men "dogs." The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the incident happened within the past few days.

  • A Syrian child reacts while being treated by a doctor, in a hospital in Aleppo, Syria, September 11, 2012.
  • A Syrian woman looks back while walking with another woman past a pile of garbage left on a roadside in Aleppo, Syria, September 11, 2012.
  • Syrians walk by a building which was damaged by government airstrike in Aleppo, Syria, September 11, 2012.
  • A Syrian rebel fighter, right, eats while others chat as they wait for transportation to go fight government forces in Aleppo, September 10, 2012.
  • A Syrian child, whose displaced with her family due to fighting between the rebels and government forces, drinks water from a tanker in a school on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, September 10, 2012.
  • Syrian rebel fighters raise their weapons as they head to fight government forces in Aleppo, in Suran, on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, September 10, 2012.
  • A Syrian rebel fighter holds his rifle as he and other fighters head to Aleppo to fight government forces, at their headquarters in Suran, on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, September 10, 2012.

U.N. officials have accused both Syrian government and rebel forces of committing atrocities in the country's civil war.

In Geneva Monday, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged the U.N. Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court, to ensure that all perpetrators of rights violations do not escape justice.

Mark Snowiss

Mark Snowiss is a Washington D.C.-based multimedia reporter.  He has written and edited for various media outlets including Pacifica and NPR affiliates in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @msnowiss and on Google Plus

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs