Staggering humanitarian crisis unfolding in Syria: aid agency
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) said in a 23-page report published on Monday that more than 600,000 Syrians have fled the country because of violence, including gang rape.
The New York-based organization described the level of rape and sexual violence taking place in the conflict zones in Syria as “horrific.”
Many refugees told the IRC that sexual violence was the main reason that they fled the country, saying gang rapes are often committed in front of family members.
Refugees said girls and women had been kidnapped, raped, tortured, and killed.
“After decades of working in war and disaster zones, the IRC knows that women and girls suffer physical and sexual violence in every conflict. Syria is no exception,” the group said in the report.
On January 11, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also announced that a total of 612,134 Syrians had been registered or were in the process of being registered as refugees in neighboring countries and North Africa.
The UNHCR office said nearly 176,600 refugees have been registered in Jordan, and 1,100 Syrians cross the Jordanian border every day.
UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said that “many refugees in both camp and non-camp situations are facing particularly cold and damp conditions.”
“Many of those arriving have been barefoot, with their clothing soaked and covered in mud and snow,” he added.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants fighting the Syrian government are foreign nationals.
And several international human rights organizations say the foreign-sponsored militants have committed war crimes.
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