Number of Syrian refugees passes 5 million: UN
The United Nations says the number of refugees, who have fled the foreign-backed militancy in Syria, has now gone beyond the five million mark.
“As the number of men, women and children fleeing six years of war in Syria passes the five million mark, the international community needs to do more to help them,” the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement on Thursday.
The UN agency said the total of Syrian refugees stood at 4.6 million at the end of 2015, and soared to 4.85 million by the end of last year.
The agency further noted that the number of Syrians, who have registered as refugees, rose by more than 250,000 within the first three months of 2017, without providing an explanation for the increase.
“We still have a long road to travel in expanding resettlement and the number and range of complementary pathways available for refugees,” the UNHCR chief, Filippo Grandi, said.
“To meet this challenge, we not only need additional places, but also need to accelerate the implementation of existing pledges,” he added.
The remarks come one year after participating countries at a high-level meeting on Syria in the Swiss city of Geneva pledged to “resettle and facilitate pathways for 500,000 Syrian refugees” by 2018. Only half of those places have been made available so far.
Turkey continues to host the highest number of Syrian refugees. It saw an increase of 47,000 Syrian refugees since February, which brought the total figure to 2.97 million.
Lebanon has over a million Syrian refugees, while Jordan is hosting 657,000 ones.
Iraq, Egypt and other North African countries have also taken in hundreds of thousands of Syrians.
A large number of Syrians have also fled to Europe.