Dubai: As the world prepares to mark yet the six-year anniversary of the brutal Syrian conflict, UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, is urging the international community to redouble efforts to help offset the continued, intense suffering of millions of innocent civilians in the country and the region.
“Syria is at a crossroads,” said Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. “Unless drastic measures are taken to shore up peace and security for Syria, the situation will worsen.”
In Syria, 13.5 million need humanitarian aid; 6.3 million are displaced internally; hundreds of thousands have made perilous sea voyages seeking sanctuary; nearly 3 million Syrians under 5 have grown up knowing nothing but conflict; and 4.9 million — the majority women and children — are refugees in neighbouring states, placing host communities under huge strain as they shoulder the social, economic and political fallout.
“Ultimately, Syria’s conflict isn’t about numbers — it’s about people,” Mr. Grandi added.
“Families have been torn apart, innocent civilians killed, houses destroyed, businesses and livelihoods shattered. It’s a collective failure.”
The UNHCR hopes that the recent peace initiatives will pave the way to a lasting and sustainable resolution.
“Peace talks alone won’t create the conditions on the ground for refugees to be able to return,” Grandi added. “But once the basic elements for durable peace and security are in place, we should anticipate the largest reconstruction effort in a generation. In the meantime, it’s essential that the lifeline provided by humanitarian aid is maintained, and humanitarian access expanded to enable life-saving support for all those in need.”