Skip to main content

World Number of refugees fleeing Syria could triple by end of 2013: UN

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said on Sunday there could be two or three times the one million registered Syrian refugees outside the country by the end of 2013 if the rise in numbers continues at its current rate.

The one millionth Syrian refugee was registered in Jordan on Wednesday, following a dramatic acceleration in the number of civilians fleeing fighting in their homeland in the first two months of this year.

Syrians started trickling out of the country nearly two years ago when President Bashar al-Assad's forces shot at pro-democracy protests inspired by Arab revolts elsewhere.

Story continues below advertisement

The uprising has since turned into an increasingly sectarian struggle between armed rebels and government soldiers and militias. An estimated 70,000 people have been killed.

The UN refugee body, UNHCR, says more than 400,000 Syrian refugees – nearly half the total – have fled Syria since Jan. 1.

Around half the refugees are children, most of them under 11.

In December, there were 3,000 refugees on average a day. In January, it had risen to 5,000. By February, there were 8,000.

"If this escalation goes on ... we might have in the end of the year a much larger number of refugees, two or three times the present level," Guterres told reporters in Ankara.

Most refugees have fled to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt and some to North Africa and Europe. In addition to the refugees, the UNHCR says more than two million of Syria's 22 million people have been internally displaced.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter