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At least two million Syrians have fled troubled homeland

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 3rd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

While the United States ponders a military strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, more than two million Syrians are now registered as refugees. According to the United Nations, the number of refugees jumped from one to two million in the brief span of six months.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - More Syrians are now displaced than any other nationality, according to the UNHCR, who added that "Syria is hemorrhaging women, children and men who cross borders often with little more than the clothes on their backs."

Half of those forced that have been forced to leave have been children, the U.N. estimates, with about three-quarters of them younger than 11 years of age.


Just 118,000 refugee children have been able to continue in some sort of education. Only one-fifth have received some sort of counseling. Agencies warn of a "lost generation" of child refugees that will be ill-equipped to help rebuild Syria in the future.


According to U.N. estimates, there are 716,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, 515,000 in Jordan, 460,000 in Turkey, 169,000 in Iraq and 111,000 in Egypt. These figures do not include the 4.25 million other refugees that are displaced inside Syria.


Lebanon has received by far the highest number of refugees, even though it is the smallest of Syria's neighbors and one of the least able to handle the sudden influx.


There is now thought to be one Syrian refugee in Lebanon to roughly every six Lebanese. Jordan and Turkey have taken in the second and third highest numbers respectively.


Both France and the U.S. are rallying for military action over alleged chemical weapons use by Syrian forces. There is word that President Barack Obama may be planning much wider military action than the limited strikes already proposed.


Senior U.S. politicians were set to speak before a congressional committee in order to rally support before a vote on whether the U.S. should launch military action.


In the meantime, tensions remain high in Syria and the surrounding region. Russia said it detected two ballistic missiles being launched towards the eastern Mediterranean coastline. Israel later confirmed that it was a joint U.S.-Israel missile test.


Many have interpreted this as a sign that the Israeli military is taking very seriously the possibility that U.S. air strikes on Syria could lead to retaliatory attacks on Israel. These retaliatory strikes could either be made by Syria or by its ally, the Shia militia Hezbollah in Lebanon.


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