Number of Syrian refugees tops 5 million mark

Geneva - The number of people fleeing Syria's civil war to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt has passed the 5 million mark, data from the United Nations refugee agency showed on Thursday.

According to latest data collected by UNHCR and the government of Turkey, 5,018,168 Syrians have left their country to seek refuge in the region since Syria's conflict kicked off in March 2011.

"Till date, countries have only made available 250,000 places".

"Countries outside the Middle East must take in more Syrians under long-term resettlement programmes".

He said much of the worldwide community was also failing refugees, increasingly closing borders and turning them away.

The tiny country beset with internal divisions now hosts the highest concentration of refugees and its people are often praised by world leaders for generously shouldering the burden of so many refugees.

In addition to Syrians that have fled their homeland in the wake of conflict, over 6 million have been internally displaced within the country, according to the UN.




Such legal pathways include family reunification programmes and study visas.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Thursday that the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was up to the war-ravaged country's people.

"A million Syrian refugee children are out of school and missing out on education, and they are the ones who will have to contribute to rebuilding Syria for the next generation", said Mr McDonald.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that fighting in the area had prompted hundreds of locals to flee to the SDF-controlled area of Sweidiyeh, north of the strategic Euphrates Dam.

Georges Ghali, programs manager at Lebanese human rights organization ALEF, said the tensions were rooted in factors such as misperceptions held by Lebanese that refugees were being showered in aid, and government policies that had made it hard for them to obtain official residency.

NGOs helping Syrian refugees have regularly sounded the alarm about the crisis, appealing for more funds and worldwide action to end Syria's war.

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