Conflict & Justice

Syrian refugees now number one million: UN


Syrian refugees take part in a demonstration at the Zaatari refugee camp near the Syrian border on Feb. 22.


Khalil Mazraawi

One million Syrians have officially fled their country, ravaged by more than two years of war between Free Syrian Army factions and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

The United Nations refugee agency reported Wednesday that one million registered refugees have escaped to neighboring countries. Half of them are children, many less than 11 years old

"With a million people in flight, millions more displaced internally, and thousands of people continuing to cross the border every day, Syria is spiraling towards full-scale disaster," said Antonio Guterres, the UN high commissioner for refugees

UNHCR tweeted a photo of Bushra, Syria's one-millionth registered refugee:

About 7,000 more people arrive every day, "78 percent of whom are women and children," UNHCR said.

Most refugees arrive at tent cities with few resources and little money, "traumatized, without possessions and having lost members of their families," Guterres said. They depend on humanitarian aid, and as war continues and more refugees arrive, resources are stretched thin.

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"We are doing everything we can to help, but the international humanitarian response capacity is dangerously stretched," Guterres warned. "This tragedy has to be stopped."

According to the UN, about 330,000 Syrians have fled to Lebanon, 320,000 to Jordan, more than 185,000 to Turkey, 105,000 to Iraq and around 43,500 to Egypt. Aound 8,000 have sought refuge inNorth Africa, and some are also in Europe.

Since March 2011, Syria's civil war has killed more than 70,000 people. While both Damascus and opposition forces have said they will consider peace negotiations, no talks have been scheduled.

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