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Half of Syrian Population Displaced, Refugees Number Over 3Mln – UNHCR

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More than 3 million people have become refugees as violence in Syria rages on, and over half of the country’s population has been displaced since the crisis began three years ago, the UN’s refugee agency said in a statement Friday.

MOSCOW, August 29 (RIA Novosti) - More than 3 million people have become refugees as violence in Syria rages on, and over half of the country’s population has been displaced since the crisis began three years ago, the UN’s Refugee Agency said in a statement Friday.

“Almost half of all Syrians have now been forced to abandon their homes and flee for their lives. One in every eight Syrians has fled across the border, fully a million more than a year ago. A further 6.5 million are displaced within Syria. Over half of those uprooted are children," UNHCR said.

According to the UNHCR, the number of Syrian refugees has reached a record 3 million people today, and in cities that are surrounded, people are going hungry and civilians are being indiscriminately killed.

“Syrians are now the world's largest refugee population under UNHCR care, second only in number to the decades-long Palestinian crisis. The Syria operation is now the largest in UNHCR's 64-year history,” the refugee agency said.

According to the UNHCR, most of the refugees remain in countries neighboring Syria. The largest number of Syrian refugees is in Lebanon, with 1.14 million, Jordan, with 608,000 and Turkey, with 815,000.

“There are worrying signs too that the journey out of Syria is becoming tougher, with many people forced to pay bribes at armed checkpoints proliferating along the borders. Refugees crossing the desert into eastern Jordan are being forced to pay smugglers hefty sums of $100 a head or more to take them to safety," the statement said.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres has described the Syrian crisis as “the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era, yet the world is failing to meet the needs of refugees and the countries hosting them.”

Since March 2011, Syria’s military conflict claimed the lives of at least 200,000 people, according to the United Nations. The government of the country’s President Bashar Assad is fighting against several groups of militants that include foreign contractors.

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