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ICC Note: The civil war in Syria has been raging for more than 2 years and claimed more than 100,000 lives. The number of refugees who have fled the country has now topped 2 million people. This has put a massive weight on neighboring countries to care for the needs of these people. For Christians they are continuing to live in fear – both inside and outside the country – afraid they will be targeted by Muslim extremists who have joined the opposition groups. Radical Muslims have attacked Christians because of their faith that is opposed to Islam and others see them as a threat because as a minority they may be aligned with the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
By Stoyan Zaimov
9/03/2013 Syria (Christian Post) – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) declared that Syria is the “great tragedy” of the 21st century and revealed in a new report that over 2 million people have fled the civil-war stricken country, with the numbers rising.
“The war is now well into its third year and Syria is hemorrhaging women, children and men who cross borders often with little more than the clothes on their backs,” the UN refugee agency said in a statement on Tuesday.
“This trend is nothing less than alarming, representing a jump of almost 1.8 million people in 12 months,” it added.
Over 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and rebels, with international pleas for a peaceful resolution going unanswered. The crisis hit a critical point in August with reports that chemical weapons have been used on civilians, killing over 1,429 people, including more than 400 children.
The U.S. has blamed Assad’s regime for the chemical attacks, and President Barack Obama is seeking Congressional approval that would allow him to lead a military strike on Syria to bring down the government – though notable allies, like the U.K., have refused to back another military operation in the Middle East.
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said at a news conference on Tuesday that “Syria has become the great tragedy of this century – a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history.”
“The only solace is the humanity shown by the neighboring countries in welcoming and saving the lives of so many refugees,” Guterres added.
The UN report noted that as many as 97 percent of Syria’s 2 million refugees are hosted by countries in the immediate region, but that is placing a great burden on their infrastructures, economies and societies. It added that as many as 5,000 Syrians are fleeing to neighboring countries every day and need immediate help from the international community.
According to official statistics, as of August, the Syrian refugees number 110,000 in Egypt, 168,000 in Iraq, 515,000 in Jordan, 716,000 in Lebanon and 460,000 in Turkey. Close to 52 percent of those are children 17 and below while another 4.25 million are displaced inside Syria.
UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie added that the world is “tragically disunited” on how to end the Syria conflict, but argued that “there should be no disagreement over the need to alleviate human suffering, and no doubt of the world’s responsibility to do more.”

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