Syrian refugees: more than 5m have now fled their country, says UN

Half of Syria’s population has been uprooted by a conflict that has lasted longer than the second world war, the UNHCR says. Photograph: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images

UNHCR announces milestone after six years of war and urges Europe not to ‘put humanity on a ballot’ in elections this year

The number of refugees who have fled Syria has topped five million people for the first time since the civil war began six years ago, according to the UN’s refugee agency.

Half of Syria’s 22 million population has been uprooted by a conflict that has now lasted longer than the second world war, the figures released by the UNHCR show, with 6.3 million people who are still inside the country’s borders forced from their homes.

It urged Europeans not to “put humanity on a ballot” in elections in France and Germany this year where far-right candidates opposed to refugee arrivals could make gains.

A surge in violence in Aleppo, as government forces backed by Russian airstrikes retook Syria’s second city at the end of 2016, resulted in 47,000 people fleeing to neighbouring Turkey, it said. Camps for internally displaced people close to the Turkish border also hold those who have fled the fighting in northern Syria.

The latest arrivals into Turkey mean the number of Syrians who have fled the country stands at more than five million, four years after the UNHCR announced that one million people had fled.

The five million figure includes refugees who have been resettled in Europe, but the UNHCR urged Europeans to do more to help share a burden that is still largely falling on countries neighbouring Syria; Turkey has taken in nearly three million Syrians.

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Source By https://www.theguardian.com

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