UN-Arab League envoy visits Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan

Syrian refugees queue for relief items at Jordan's Za'atri camp. Photo: UNHCR/S. Malkawi

18 September 2012 – The Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, on Tuesday visited refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan, where he gained first-hand accounts of the struggles facing those who fled the conflict in their homeland.

The envoy went to the Altinoz camp in Turkey’s Hatay Province and the Za’atari camp in Jordan. He was briefed in both places by UN agencies and government officials on conditions in the camps.

“Mr. Brahimi met Syrian refugees and listened to first-hand accounts of their ordeals,” UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters in New York. “He was deeply moved by what he saw and heard and promised to convey an accurate picture of their plight to all those whom he will meet at the United Nations in New York, where he will be next week.”

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 260,000 Syrian refugees have been registered in neighbouring countries since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011. They are part of an estimated 2.5 million Syrians in urgent need of humanitarian assistance as a result of the escalating crisis.

The visits to the camps in Turkey and Jordan follow a meeting in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Saturday between Mr. Brahimi and Mr. al-Assad on the crisis, which the envoy said was getting worse and has serious consequences on the Syrian people, the region and the entire world.

“This crisis is becoming worse by the day,” Mr. Brahimi told reporters after the meeting, adding that it is urgent to address it in a proper manner.

More than 18,000 people, mostly civilians, have died since the uprising in Syria began 18 months ago. Mr. Brahimi assumed the peace-facilitation role earlier this month, with the aim of bringing an end to all violence and human rights violations in Syria, and promoting a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Mr. Brahimi briefed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a telephone call today on his various meetings in Damascus and Cairo, as well as on the situation of the Syrian refugees he visited. The two men are scheduled to meet when Mr. Brahimi arrives in New York this weekend, according to Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.


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