Geneva, July 9 (IANS) The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on Thursday said over four million Syrians have so far fled the war and persecution in their country and have become refugees in neighbouring countries, making the Syrian conflict the worst crisis globally for almost a quarter of a century.
According to a report issued by the agency, the total number of refugees from Syria stands at 4,013,000.
“This is the biggest refugee population from a single conflict in a generation. It is a population that deserves the support of the world but is instead living in dire conditions and sinking deeper into abject poverty,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, said.
“Worsening conditions are driving growing numbers towards Europe and further afield, but the overwhelming majority remain in the region,” he said.
The agency said the new figures were based on new arrivals in Turkey and updated data from the authorities on refugees already in that country.
In June alone, over 24,000 people arrived in Turkey from Syria’s Tel Abyad, where fighting had been raging between Kurdish armed groups and the Islamic State (IS) militants, and other parts of northern Syria.
More than 220,000 people have been reported killed in Syria since anti-government protests broke out in March 2011.
At least an additional 7.6 million people are displaced inside Syria — many of them in difficult circumstances and in locations that are difficult to reach, the report added.
“The exodus from Syria is the highest recorded since 1992 when the number of refugees from Afghanistan hit a staggering 4.6 million. In reality, the figure is even higher as it does not include more than 270,000 asylum applications by Syrians in Europe, and thousands of others not resettled in regional neighbours,” the report said.
The UNHCR expects the figure to reach around 4.27 million by the end of 2015.