Syria’s humanitarian catastrophe about to get worse

As civil war in Syria inches toward its four-year anniversary, the nation’s humanitarian catastrophe deepens.

Some 7.6 million Syrians are now internally displaced, and another 3.3 million have fled to neighboring countries to avoid the complex three-way dogfight among Assad’s forces, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and Syrian rebels.

In Lebanon the influx of one million refugees is straining the capacities of a country of only 4.4 million.

Today, some 12.2 million Syrians, both inside and outside Syria, rely on emergency food aid. It thus came as a shock when the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) announced on December 1 that a lack of funds was forcing it to suspend aid to help feed and clothe Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt.

The cutback is projected to hit 1.7 million Syrian refugees. Many have signaled that their best option now may be a journey back to war-torn Syria. Unless funds are found quickly, Syria’s “new level of hopelessness” might rise to new heights.

[Council on Foreign Relations]

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