Syrian Refugees Top 1 Million, Straining Humanitarian Response

Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war for Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and other countries reached 1 million, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.

“With a million people in flight, millions more displaced internally, and thousands of people continuing to cross the border every day, Syria is spiraling toward full-scale disaster,” Guterres said today in a statement issued by the UN’s refugee agency. “This tragedy has to be stopped.”

UNHCR is adjusting a December plan to deal with a projected 1.1 million refugees by June, after more than 400,000 people fled Syria since the beginning of this year. That plan is only 25 percent funded, the UN agency said.

Syria’s civil war has evolved along largely sectarian lines, with many in the Sunni majority supporting the rebels and much of the Shiite Muslim, Christian and Alawite minorities backing President Bashar al-Assad. The two-year-old conflict has killed about 70,000 people.

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