On the occasion of the World Refugee Day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Khaled Khoja, High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie have arrived in Turkey’s southeastern province of Mardin to meet with Syrian refugees.
The delegation will have breakfast with Syrian refugees to draw the world’s attention to the plight of more than three million Syrian refugees and the six million who are internally displaced.
A UN report shows that Syria beat Afghanistan as the world’s biggest source of refugees last year. The main acceleration has been since early 2011 when war erupted in Syria, propelling it into becoming the world’s single largest driver of displacement.
“I believe things will get worse before they eventually start to get better,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said at a news conference in Istanbul.
Guterres said the responsibility to protect Syrian refugees should not be lie solely with Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, and called on the European Union and other parts of the world to open their borders to refugees.
“We are witnessing a paradigm change, an unchecked slide into an era in which the scale of global forced displacement as well as the response required is now clearly dwarfing anything seen before,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. “It is terrifying that on the one hand there is more and more impunity for those starting conflicts, and on the other there is seeming utter inability of the international community to work together to stop wars and build and preserve peace.”
There were 7.6 million displaced people in Syria by the end of last year and almost 4 million Syrian refugees, mainly living in the neighboring countries of Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)