Lebanese PM urges world help to cope with refugee influx

Lebanon's prime minister warned Friday that his country has reached "breaking point" by hosting more than one million Syrian refugees and urged investment from the global community.

Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons, reporting from Geneva, said the "enormity and colossal suffering" of the refugees is evident from the UNHCR report.

"We're asking for more legal pathways for Syrians to travel to other countries so that they don't end up dying in the seas like in the Mediterranean", said Baloch.

"It's not about the number, it's about the people", said UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch, noting that the conflict had now lasted longer than World War II.

Turkey is the largest host country for Syrian refugees, having taken in almost 3 million during the six-year war.

In Jordan, some 657,000 Syrian refugees are registered with the United Nations, but the government says the true figure is 1.3 million.

A year after an worldwide conference to increase the places for refugee resettlement and offer alternative channels for Syrian refugee admission, only half the 500,000 places asked for have been given, UNHCR warned. Since then, only half of those refugees have found places to call home. "As many States know from first-hand experience, resettlement not only gives refugees the opportunity to re-build their lives, but also enriches the communities that welcome them".

Refugee numbers levelled in 2016 but rose this year after the government and its Russian and Iranian-backed allies took control of the city of Aleppo.

Around 400,000 people are believed to have died in the Syrian civil war, which began in March 2011 with the violent quelling of peaceful demonstrations against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

In addition to those who have fled the country, more than 6 million Syrians are internally displaced.

The first three months of 2017 saw more than 250,000 additional Syrians register as refugees bringing the total to 5.1 million, UNHCR said on its website, without providing an explanation for the apparent surge.

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.



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