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BEIRUT – The fate of millions of Syrian refugees and internally displaced people “is in the hands of regional and world powers and they must now act”, particularly after devastating images of starving children in Syria shocked the world, said the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.
Grandi, on his first official trip through Turkey, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, said: “All the countries that have an influence in this complicated peace process, none of them should be looking at those pictures of starving children without realizing that unless peace comes we will see more of those pictures.”
“So if we want those pictures to stop coming up on our screens, they have to be serious about peace talks and about concretely making all the necessary compromises that are needed to achieve peace,” he told a news conference in Beirut on Friday.
He stressed that a “regular and unimpeded humanitarian access” is urgently needed to all areas in Syria, “especially to reach the over 400,000 people in places that are besieged across the country”.
Grandi also emphasized “the growing vulnerability and fragility of refugees” in Syria’s neighboring countries.
According to the UNHCR, more than four million Syrian refugees reside in neighboring countries. Turkey hosts 2.5 million of them, Lebanon has taken in over 1 million, and some 635,000 Syrian refugees have taken shelter in Jordan.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees called the inflow of Syrians and others into Europe as “a wake-up call”, demanding the international community to provide more assistance to those refugees.