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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More