Over 5 million Syrians have fled homeland

Indo Asian News Service

Rome, March 31 (IANS/AKI) More than five million people have fled Syria's civil war to neighbouring countries, according to data from the UN refugee agency UNHCR and the government of Turkey.

A total of 5,018,168 people have taken refuge in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, the Turkish daily Hurriyet quoted the report as saying.

The victory by the Syrian government and its Russian allies against rebels in the northern city of Aleppo in December has accelerated the exodus, according to the data.

Millions more people have fled to other parts of Syria, including tens of thousands in March, mainly women and children trying to escape a rebel offensive northwest of the city of Hama.

Syrians have also fled to Europe in large numbers, making 884,461 asylum claims between April 2011 and October 2016. Almost two-thirds of the claims were in Germany or Sweden, the data showed.

"We still have a long road to travel in expanding resettlement and the number and range of complementary pathways available for refugees," UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said on Thursday.

UNHCR estimates that almost 1.2 million refugees will need resettlement in 2017, 40 percent of whom are Syrians.

--IANS/AKI

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