September 3, 2013 - 12:24 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - More than 2 million refugees have now fled Syria's civil war, piling pressure on neighboring host countries, the United Nations said on Tuesday, September 3, according to Reuters.
The tide of children, women and men crossing borders has risen almost ten-fold over the past 12 months, figures from the UN refugee agency UNHCR showed.
"Syria has become the great tragedy of this century - a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history," the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, said in a statement.
On average, almost 5,000 people take refuge in Syria's neighbors every day, according to the report. At least 700,000 have fled to Lebanon, and more Syrians are now displaced than any other nationality, the UNHCR says. Iraq has the fourth largest population of Syrian refugees, with over 170,000.
"If the situation continues to deteriorate at this rate, the number of refugees will only grow, and some neighboring countries could be brought to the point of collapse," said UNHCR envoy and Hollywood star Angelina Jolie.
According to BBC News, France and the U.S. are continuing to push for military action over alleged chemical weapons use by Syrian forces. There are suggestions that President Barack Obama may be planning much wider action than the limited strikes that have been publicly proposed.
However, President Barack Obama's efforts to persuade the U.S. Congress to back his plan to attack Syria were met with skepticism from lawmakers in his own Democratic Party who expressed concern the United States would be dragged into a new Middle East conflict.