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Syria's Neighbors Seek More Help for Refugees

Updated: Wednesday, September 4 2013, 11:24 AM EDT

GENEVA (AP) - Top officials from four nations harboring more than 1.8 million Syrian refugees say they badly need outside help to care for those fleeing the violence.

In a joint statement Wednesday, the foreign ministers from Iraq, Jordan and Turkey, Lebanon's social affairs minister and U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres urgently appealed for greater international support for the refugees.

Guterres says Syria's neighbors are paying a heavy price to deal with Syria's civil war. His agency says the conflict has forced over 2 million people out of the country - more than half of them children - and displaced over 4 million others within its borders since March 2011.

He says there are 716,000 refugees in Lebanon, 515,000 in Jordan, 460,000 in Turkey, 168,000 in Iraq and 110,000 in Egypt.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Syria's Neighbors Seek More Help for Refugees


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The Syrian civil war, (also known as the Syrian uprising or Syrian crisis) is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba'ath government and those seeking to oust it. A part of the larger Middle Eastern protest movement known as the Arab Spring, the conflict began March 15th, 2011 with local demonstrations that grew in scope to become nationwide by April 2011.

Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971, as well as the end of Ba'ath Party rule, which began in 1963.

The Syrian Army was deployed in April of 2011 to stop the uprising, and soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country. After months of cities and neighborhoods being cut-off by the Army the protests evolved into an armed rebellion.

The Arab League, United States, European Union, and other countries condemned the use of violence against the protesters. The Arab League suspended Syria's membership as a result of the government's response to the crisis, but granted the Syrian National Coalition, a coalition of Syrian political opposition groups, Syria's seat on 6 March 2013.

According to the UN, about 4 million Syrians have been displaced within the country and 2 million have fled to other countries.

Syrian government supporters include Russia and Iran, while Qatar and Saudi Arabia are providing material and weapons to the rebels.


 
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