Damascus (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The number of people fleeing the civil war in Syria has now passed four million, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a report released today.
For the UN agency, this is the single largest refugee crisis in almost a quarter of a century, one that seems far from any solution. In fact, it expects the number of refugees fleeing war zones to rise.
A surge in new refugee arrivals in Turkey had pushed the total number of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries to over 4,013,000 people, one more million compared to last year.
With more than 1.8 million Syrians, Turkey has become the biggest host of refugees in the world.
Nearly 249,726 refugees are in Iraq, whilst Jordan hosts 629,128 and Egypt and Lebanon are home to 132,375 and 1,172,753 respectively.
Last but not least, the report does not include 270,000 asylum applications by Syrians in Europe, and the thousands of others resettled from the region elsewhere. And an additional 7.6 million people are displaced within Syria itself.
"This is the biggest refugee population from a single conflict in a generation. It is a population that needs the support of the world but is instead living in dire conditions and sinking deeper into poverty," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.
The uprising against Bashar al Assad’s regime is now in its fifth year. The violence reached a crescendo last year. Since unrest and protests broke out March 2011, at least 220,000 have been killed, many of them civilians.
In the past ten months, more than one million people have been forced to become refugees, the UNHCR said. At this rate, the figure is expected to reach around 4.27 million by the end of the year.
In June alone, more than 24,000 people crossed into Turkey from Tel Abyad in Syria, where fierce fighting continues to rage between Kurdish armed groups and IS fighters.