CAIRO – Three years on the start of the Syrian conflict, more than nine million of Syrian citizens have been forced to leave their homes, fleeing death and giving their country the title of the world’s leading country of forced displacement, a report by a UN refugee agency said.
"It is unconscionable that a humanitarian catastrophe of this scale is unfolding before our eyes with no meaningful progress to stop the bloodshed," UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said in a press release on UNHCR website on Friday, March 14.
"No effort should be spared to forge peace. And no effort spared to ease the suffering of the innocent people caught up in the conflict and forced from their homes, communities, jobs and schools."
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On Saturday, March 15, Syria marks the third anniversary of revolt against President Bashar Al-Assad’s rule.
Three years on the conflict, the revolt turned into a civil war, forcing millions of Syrians to flee their homes, according to the UNHCR.
In Lebanon alone, the number of registered refugees from Syria is approaching 1 million and could grow to 1.6 million at the end of 2014 if current trends continue.
Lebanon already has the highest per capita concentration of refugees of any country in recent history, with nearly 230 registered Syrian refugees for every 1,000 Lebanese.
That is more than 70 times as many refugees per inhabitants as in France, and 280 times as many as in the United States.
The number of registered Syrian refugees hosted in Lebanon would be equivalent to nearly 19 million refugees in Germany and over 73 million in the United States.
Jordan is also reeling under the refugee presence, estimating the related cost at more than US$1.7 billion so far.
In this resourcep-oor country, the government is paying hundreds of millions worth of additional subsidies to ensure refugees have access to affordable water, bread, gas and electricity.
An August 2013 report by UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that refugees were divided by 110,000 in Egypt, 168,000 in Iraq, 515,000 in Jordan, 716,000 in Lebanon and 460,000 in Turkey.
Some 52 per cent of this population are children aged 17 years or below.
Struggle For Live
The increasing number of refugees led to a surge in demand for health care, a shortage of medicines, and drinking water, especially in northern Jordan.
"Imagine the crushing social and economic consequences of this crisis on Lebanon and other countries in the region," Guterres said.
"They need much stronger international support than they have received so far, both financially and in terms of commitments to receive and protect Syrian refugees in other parts of the world, beyond the immediate neighboring region."
Moreover, with the increasing trend of refugees, Syrians were contributing to growing numbers of irregular arrivals by boat in countries of the southern Mediterranean.
Seeking new life in Europe, more and more Syrians were putting their lives at the mercy of human smugglers, often with tragic results.
Last year, 700 people died while trying to cross the Mediterranean – among them some 250 Syrians. They are also facing instances of closed borders and push backs to neighboring countries.
"What kind of a world is this where Syrians fleeing this violent conflict have to risk their lives to reach safety, and when they finally make it, they are not welcomed or even turned away at borders?" Guterres asked.
Another report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that the number of children affected by the civil war in Syria has more than doubled over the past year.
UNICEF said the child casualty rates were the highest recorded in any recent conflict in the region.
It cited UN figures that at least 10,000 children have been killed in the Syrian war but noted that the real number is probably higher.
The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that more than 136,000 have been killed since a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.
The UNICEF report said 2 million children needed some form of psychological support or treatment while a total of 5.5 million children were affected by the conflict - some of them inside Syria and others living abroad as refugees.
This is more than twice the number of children affected by the conflict in March 2013, when UNICEF estimated it had impacted 2.3 million young Syrians.
The number of children displaced inside Syria has risen to nearly 3 million from 920,000 a year ago. Meanwhile, UNICEF said the number of child refugees has grown to 1.2 million from 260,000 since last year - 425,000 of them under 5 years old.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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