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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs