Over 4 million people have now fled the brutal war in Syria, making Syrians the biggest refugee population in a generation according to new figures from the UN’s Refugee Agency UNHCR.
The Syrian conflict is now in its fifth year and has killed over 220,000 people. Around half of the country’s population has been displaced.
The majority of Syria’s refugees are being sheltered by its neighbouring countries, with Turkey now the largest refugee hosting country in the world: home to over 1.8 million Syrian refugees. Tiny Lebanon is hosting over 1.1 million refugees; Jordan nearly 630,000, Iraq nearly 250,000 and Egypt over 132,000.
UNHCR predicts there will be 4.27 million Syrian refugees in the region by the end of 2015; at the end of last year, one in every five displaced people worldwide was Syrian
Some refugees including torture survivors, children with medical conditions and women who have suffered sexual violence are struggling to survive in these conditions, and are reliant on the hope of being offered a resettlement place in a safe country.
Shamefully, resettlement places are in perilously short supply, with Britain only pledging a pitiful number of places despite the growing need.
Faced with increasingly precarious living conditions, many Syrians are forced to move on in their search for safety; with Syrians being the biggest group making the deadly crossing across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.
The Refugee Council is calling for Britain and other European countries to respond to the growing global refugee crisis by helping as many people as possible reach safety.
Refugee Council Chief Executive Maurice Wren said: “The refugee crisis in the Middle East and the Mediterranean presents us with one of the greatest humanitarian challenges of modern times.
“With peace and stability in the region a distant prospect at best, the only way to prevent desperate people making hazardous journeys is to extend a lifeline by providing alternative routes to safety.
“The UK Government must make a new, substantial pledge towards resettling thousands of refugees directly from the region and we must also make it easier for families divided by war to be able to reunite with their loved ones who are already living here in safety.
“For many of the world’s most vulnerable people, it’s quite simply a matter of life and death.”
Photo courtesy of UNHCR.