UN: Syrian refugee crisis intensifying

2014-02-24 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Violence in Syria continued over the weekend, with reports of a car bomb attack against a field hospital operated by the Orient humanitarian association that provides free medical aid to thousands of displaced Syrians who live in a nearby camp close to the Turkish border. There was also news of the assassination of a major al-Qaeda figure: Abu Khaled al-Soury, who fought with Osama bin-Laden and was close to al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri. There are fears the assassination will exacerbate infighting among rebel groups. Listen:

Meanwhile, more than 10 thousand Syrians have fled into Lebanon since the commencement of a new offensive on the city of Yabroud and its outskirts began on February 12th. Hind Al-Hussein is a 19 year-old mother of three and a refugee from Yabroud, who was forced to flee without her husband, sometimes bodily carrying her children. “The area was being shelled heavily,” she said, “we were given 24 hours’ notice to evacuate the area.” She went on to say, “Our house got hit twice,” adding, “my husband told me to take the children and leave – he couldn’t come with us.”

In more than three years of civil war, more than 100 thousand people have been killed, and More than 2.5 million Syrians have fled their homes.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), just over 2.1 million people have sought refuge in Syria's immediate neighbours: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. Others have remained for the time being inside Syria, while fewer than 100 thousand people have declared asylum in Europe.