The UN refugee agency on Thursday appealed to Turkey to take in more refugees from Syria, as hundreds of thousands flee the regime’s brutal assault on the last rebel enclave.
“We need an end to the fighting, and access to safety to preserve lives,” UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said in a statement.
“I am also appealing for neighboring countries, including Turkey, to broaden admissions, so that those most in danger can reach safety,” Grandi said.
So far this year, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq & Egypt have taken in another 500,000 Syrian refugees pic.twitter.com/FhuhnYFLrf
— United Nations (@UN) July 29, 2014
Turkey has said it is unwilling to open its borders to a new wave of Syrian refugees – on top of the 3.6 million, it has already taken in.
Grandi said “capacities and public support are already strained” in neighboring countries and asked for more international support for governments taking in refugees.
The UN estimates more than 900,000 people have fled their homes or shelters in northwest Syria in the latest upsurge in violence – the biggest wave of displaced civilians in the nine-year conflict.
Most of them are now in Idlib and Aleppo governorates, where freezing conditions are creating a grave humanitarian situation.
Grandi said 80 percent of the displaced people were women and children and underlined the importance of safe humanitarian access to them.
UNHCR has stocks in the region to meet the immediate needs of up to 2.1 million people, including tents for 400,000, Grandi said, pointing out that there were an estimated four million civilians in the region.
“Thousands of innocent people cannot pay the price of a divided international community, whose inability to find a solution to this crisis is going to be a grave stain on our collective international conscience,” Grandi said.
96,855 Syrian refugees have returned back to their homes since Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on October 9, according to UN OCHA data pic.twitter.com/8wRZlmXvFs
— TRT World (@trtworld) November 1, 2019
According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the regime offensive has killed more than 400 civilians since it began in December, adding to the toll of more than 380,000 who have died in the conflict.
Syrian War nearing End
Syrian troops started a military operation against the country’s last major rebel safe heaven. The offensive started Tuesday, where the mass displacement of civilians is sparking fears of a humanitarian catastrophe.
Around 900,000 people have been forced from their homes and shelters in less than three months, leaving huge numbers to sleep rough in the bitter cold.
The United Nations said that half a million among them were children, some of whom have died of exposure in snow-covered camps.
A staggering 300,000 people have been displaced since the beginning of February alone, he said. The wave of displacement is the biggest in nearly nine years of civil war, which has forced half of Syria’s population to flee their homes.