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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid