Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says
The Syrian civil war that has raged since 2011 has resulted in three million registered Syrian refugees to date the United Nations Refugee agency the UNHCR said on Friday.
Almost half of all Syrians have now been forced to abandon their homes and flee for their lives, the agency said in a statement released on Friday in Geneva.
"One in every eight Syrians has fled across the border, fully a million more than a year ago. A further 6.5 million are displaced within Syria. Over half of those uprooted are children," the UNHCR said.
"There are worrying signs too that the journey out of Syria is becoming tougher, with many people forced to pay bribes at armed checkpoints proliferating along the borders. Refugees crossing the desert into eastern Jordan are being forced to pay smugglers hefty sums (US$100 a head or more) to take them to safety."
UNHCR said most of the refugees remain in countries neighboring Syria, with the highest concentrations in Lebanon (1.14 million), Jordan (608,000) and Turkey (815,000).
"Syrians are now the world's largest refugee population under UNHCR care, second only in number to the decades-long Palestinian crisis. The Syria operation is now the largest in UNHCR's 64-year history," the statement said.