UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said that “deteriorating conditions in Syria and neighboring countries are driving thousands of Syrians to risk everything on perilous journeys to Europe.”
“As the crisis digs deeper into its fifth year with no sign of a political solution in sight, despair is on the rise and hope is in short supply. Inside Syria, the last few months have been brutal. Fighting has intensified in almost all governorates,” UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told a press briefing in Geneva.
She cited increasing rocket and mortar attacks on Damascus, rising vehicle explosions in major cities like Lattakia, Aleppo, Homs, Hassakeh and Qamishli, and heavy bombardment in Zabadani and rural Damascus, which is driving thousands more people from their homes.
In a report released today, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that it documented 1,591 barrel bomb attacks launched by regime forces in August. The attacks targeted mainly populated areas, killing 115 civilians, including 37 children and 31 women.
The report said that the first documented regime attack using barrel bombs against civilians occurred in the town of Salqin in Idlib province on October 1, 2012.
The report added that the victims of these attacks are almost entirely civilians, with children and women accounting for 12-35% of the overall victims.
Syrians now face increasing challenges to find safety and protection in neighboring countries, which, faced with overwhelming refugee numbers, insufficient international support and security concerns, have taken measures this year to stem the flow of refugees – including restricting access or closer management of borders and introducing onerous and complex requirements for refugees to extend their stay.
For the 4.08 million refugees already in neighboring countries – the vast majority of whom live outside of formal camps – hope is also dwindling as they sinker deeper into abject poverty. (Source: Syrian Coalition)