SYRIA: More than a MILLION refugees have fled Syria’s bloody civil war: UN warns the conflict-ravaged nation is ‘spiralling towards disaster’.

March 6th, 2013

By Sam Webb

 

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Exodus: A refugee camp in Turkey, near the Syrian border. The UN says more than a million people have fled the bloody civil war and Syria is now heading for disasterExodus: A refugee camp in Turkey, near the Syrian border. The UN says more than a million people have fled the bloody civil war and Syria is now heading for disaster
Exodus: Syrian refugees wait to register their names after their arrival at the Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with SyriaExodus: Syrian refugees wait to register their names after their arrival at the Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria

Syria’s uprising began in March 2011 with protests against President Bashar Assad’s authoritarian rule.

When the government cracked down on demonstrators, the opposition took up arms and the conflict turned into a full-blown civil war. The United Nations estimates that more than 70,000 people have been killed.

The relentless violence also has devastated many cities and forced hundreds of thousands of Syrians to seek refuge abroad.

Guterres said the number of refugees has swelled dramatically this year, with most Syrians pouring into Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.

Plume: Smoke rises after shells exploded in the Syrian village of al-Jamlah yesterday. The war has taken an estimated 70,000 livesPlume: Smoke rises after shells exploded in the Syrian village of al-Jamlah yesterday. The war has taken an estimated 70,000 lives

The war has escalated in recent months, and more than 400,000 of those people become refugees since the start of 2013.

Guterres said the refugees often arrive in neighbouring countries ‘traumatised, without possessions and having lost members of their families’.

Around half are children, the majority under the age of 11.

‘We are doing everything we can to help, but the international humanitarian response capacity is dangerously stretched,’ he said. ‘This tragedy has to be stopped.’

One million Syrian refugees flee civil war

Buildings damaged by combat in Homs. This sort of damage to residential areas has driven people out of the countryBuildings damaged by combat in Homs. This sort of damage to residential areas has driven people out of the country
Lull: Men walk through a debris-strewn district in the city of Homs during a break in the fightingLull: Men walk through a debris-strewn district in the city of Homs during a break in the fighting

The UN in December estimated that 1.1 million Syrian refugees would arrive in neighboring countries by the end of June this year. Budgeting for the UN’s regional response plan are being adjusted in light of the new figures, Guterres added.

On Monday Syrian rebels tore down a bronze statue of President Bashar Assad’s late father and predecessor as they pushed government troops from most of the northern city of Raqqa.

Scores of cheering protesters ripped down the statue in scenes reminiscent of Iraq in 2003, when angry civilians toppled a giant statue of Saddam Hussein.

Rebels hold control in parts of several major Syrian cities – several neighborhoods in Aleppo, Homs and Deir el-Zour, as well as suburbs of the capital, Damascus.

But if they seize control of Raqqa, it would be the first time an entire city had fallen into the hands of anti-Assad fighters.

A Syrian man sits on a fallen statue of former Syrian President Hafez Assad in the city of Raqqa, Syria, yesterday. The Arabic words on the fallen statue read: 'Tomorrow will be better'A Syrian man sits on a fallen statue of former Syrian President Hafez Assad in the city of Raqqa, Syria, yesterday. The Arabic words on the fallen statue read: ‘Tomorrow will be better’
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