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Middle East

Syrian refugee population passes 4 million mark, UN reports

media A compound for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Reuters/Ali Hashisho

More than 4 million Syrians have now fled their country's civil war with more than a million leaving in the last 10 months, according to a report released by the UN on Thursday.

The report by the United Nations Higher Commissioner of Refugees says that 5.5 billion dollars (5 billion euros) is needed for humanitarian efforts and to help the countries around Syria that are bearing most of the burden of hosting refugees.

Turkey hosts 1.8 million Syrian refugees and is reportedly building a 55,000-person refugee camp. The construction comes amid concerns of a major escalation of the conflict.

Another 1.17 million Syrian refugees are in neighbouring Lebanon, making up a quarter of the Lebanese population.

Jordan hosts more than 629,000 Syrian refugees, while Iraq counts nearly 250,000, Egypt has taken in nearly 132,500, and more than 24,000 others have sought refuge elsewhere in North Africa, the latest UNHCR figures showed.

Around 270,000 Syrians have sought asylum in Europe. The report also points out that of the 137,000 involved in the “migrant crisis” trying to cross the Mediterranean Ocean to reach Europe, a third have been Syrian refugees.

"That is one of the things to remember, that this crisis in Europe   and it is being called a crisis   is a refugee crisis, not a migrant crisis,” Ariane Rummery, the UN refugee agency spokesperson, told RFI.

The UN reports that it has only received a quarter of the funding that it recommends is needed.

“This means that Syrian refugees are struggling more and more to afford even the most basic health services and less children are able to attend school,” said Rummery.

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