Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy and former Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), visited a refugee camp in Jordan near the Syrian border yesterday and asked for international support to help all those fleeing the crisis in Syria.
International news sites reported that Jolie was accompanied by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres and Jordinian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh during her tour at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.
“It’s been a very heavy experience because often times you come to these camps,” Jolie was quoted as saying.“We do encourage the international community to do everything it can to support these people and to support them here until they can go home one day. There is much that needs to be done,” Ms. Jolie said. “It’s a very, very difficult situation and of the appeals that came out, which still have not been met, they weren’t even prepared to take into account the extent of what was going to happen, how many people. It grows. The numbers are growing. The conflict is growing.”
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said that since the beginning of the crisis over 200,000 Syrians have crossed the borders into Jordan without going back into Syria and said that the world should understand how difficult it is for Jordan to cope with this challenge.
“I am grateful to Jordan and other border countries for keeping their borders open, for saving these people’s lives. They are dying in Syria,” Ms. Jolie said in the media. “If they were unable to escape with their families many of the people here, many of the people I met today would in fact be dead. It’s an extraordinary thing that they are doing,” Jolie said.
The Syrian Civil War began some 18 months ago when protesters demanded the end to nearly five decades of Ba’ath Party rule, as well as the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad.
More than 26,000 people, mostly civilians, have died since fighting broke out. UNICEF reported that over 500 children have been killed and another 400 children have been reportedly arrested and tortured in Syrian prisons. Over 600 detainees and political prisoners have also died under torture.
In recent weeks, reports indicate heavy fighting around many towns and villages, as well as the country’s two biggest cities, Aleppo and Damascus.