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Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

United Nations says Syria refugees top 3 million mark

By John Heilprin, Associated Press

Published: Fri, Aug. 29 10:29 p.m. MDT

 FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 26, 2005, file photo, Hollywood actress and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Ambassador Angelina Jolie, left, and actor Brad Pitt, right, are escorted by unidentified UNHCR officials towards a helicopter in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, after seeing an earthquake-affected area. Jolie and Pitt were married Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, in France, according to a spokesman for the couple.

FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 26, 2005, file photo, Hollywood actress and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Ambassador Angelina Jolie, left, and actor Brad Pitt, right, are escorted by unidentified UNHCR officials towards a helicopter in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, after seeing an earthquake-affected area. Jolie and Pitt were married Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, in France, according to a spokesman for the couple.

(Roshan Mughal, File, Associated Press)

GENEVA — The civil war in Syria has forced 3 million people out of the country as more than a million people fled in the past year, creating a crisis that the U.N. refugee agency said requires the biggest operation in its 64-year history.

The tragic milestone means that about one of every eight Syrians has fled across the border, and 6.5 million others have been displaced within Syria since the conflict began in March 2011, the Geneva-based agency said. More than half of all those uprooted are children, it said.

Syria had a prewar population of 23 million.

"The Syria crisis has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era, yet the world is failing to meet the needs of refugees and the countries hosting them," said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.

The agency had described the 3 million as a record, but later qualified that the Syrian crisis was record-breaking in terms of the unprecedented size and scope of the $3.74 billion operation needed to care for the refugees.

The recent surge in fighting appears to be worsening the already desperate situation for Syrian refugees, the agency said, as the extremist Islamic State group expands its control of broad areas straddling the Syria-Iraq border and terrorizes rivals and civilians in both countries.

According to the agency, many of the new arrivals in Jordan come from the northern province of Aleppo and the northeastern region of Raqqa, a stronghold of the group. An independent U.N. commission says the group is systematically carrying out widespread bombings, beheadings and mass killings that amount to crimes against humanity in both areas.

Angelina Jolie, the U.N's refugee agency special envoy, said international stability is steadily bleeding away in Syria.

"Three million refugees is not just another statistic. It is a searing indictment of our collective failure to end the war in Syria," Jolie said in a statement following the report.

The commission investigating potential war crimes in Syria said on Wednesday that the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad likely used chlorine gas to attack civilians, who are bearing the brunt of a civil war that has killed more than 190,000 people and destabilized the region.

The massive numbers of Syrians fleeing the civil war has stretched the resources of neighboring countries and raised fears of violence spreading in the region.

The U.N. estimates there are nearly 35,000 people awaiting registration as refugees, and hundreds of thousands who are not registered.

The refugee agency and other aid groups say an increasing number of families are arriving in other countries in shockingly poor condition, exhausted and scared and with almost no financial savings left after having been on the run for a year or more. In eastern Jordan, for example, the agency says refugees crossing the desert are forced to pay smugglers $100 per person or more to be taken to safety.

.Lebanon hosts 1.14 million Syrian refugees, the single highest concentration. Turkey has 815,000 and Jordan has 608,000.

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1. boneheaded, but not a smidgen
SLC, UT,
Aug. 30, 2014

why doesn't barry just open the borders to the syrian refugees?

2. JWB
Kaysville, UT,
Aug. 30, 2014

In a time we need a stabilizing force in the world, the world has no leader to look up to as a country nor as a President. The lack of leadership, real leadership is causing people who would like freedom or liberty to wonder what is happening to the leaders in the hallmark country of freedom. Every country in the world has refugees, if not their own from other countries surrounding them. World productivity is more than just producing widgets or even playing sports for exorbitant salaries or making movies espousing violence, crime and death. Music is to help us be tranquil and relaxed but is not necessarily doing that. The adversaries of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has grown tangentially in 6 years. The United Nations is similar to the League of Nations of the 1930s with not one nation giving true leadership for the poor in spirit and heart. They have become a tool to take money and make no political move for humanity. The world is spinning out of control, like a ship without a rudder. The rudder should be like the polar star for guidance.

Prophets add guidance with the scriptures.

3. Abdulameer
Chicago, IL,
Aug. 30, 2014

Very few in the media or in the public know or care much about this enormous human suffering going on in Syria, suffering which includes deliberate sadistic brutality such as crucifixion and slicing off of heads by religious Moslems in the name of Islam. But, these were only Moslems murdering other Moslems and Christians. Who cares? Contrast the media and public reaction to Israel's defensive war in Gaza where everyone was mesmerized by the number of casualties.