11 March 2013, Geneva, Switzerland - UNOSAT will soon enter the third year of monitoring of the Syria crisis in support of the international humanitarian community and the High-Commissioner for Refugees in particular. UNOSAT first situation maps about the unfolding of the Syrian crisis date back mid-2011. Today, the number of Syrians fleeing increasingly violent conflict has reportedly surpassed the staggering number of one million.
UNHCR made known last week that resources for helping this increasing population of displaced people, 50% of whom are believed to be children mostly under 11, are dangerously scarce. According to data released by UNHCR, around 7,000 to 8,000 Syrians are leaving the country daily, in a scenario that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees himself described as a “spiraling towards full-scale disaster”. Mr. Guterres said: “this tragedy has to be stopped”.
Many UN agencies and programmes are concerned with the situation in Syria and the fate of those suffering and displaced because of the violence of the conflict. The role of UNOSAT since 2011 has been to help humanitarians have reliable data on the situation at the borders with Syria, where thousands Syrians cross each day in search of relief and assistance.
Latest figures indicate that Jordan is hosting over 320,000 refugees from Syria, Lebanon: 330,000, Turkey: 185,000, and Iraq: 105,000. Some 52,000 more are in Egypt and North Africa. These figures change every day and refugee camps in these countries develop very rapidly. The UNOSAT team has been requested to monitor some key locations where camps are being enlarged or built anew. As an example of the impact of the crisis on neighboring countries, Lebanon’s population has increased by 10% due to the influx of Syrian refugees while Turkey has spent more than 500 million dollars in camps infrastructure.
As more camps are being built and the condition of people trapped in conflict zones deteriorate, UNOSAT continues to produce updated maps on key refugee locations. In addition, UNOSAT is supporting some of the inquiries being carried out by independent commissions nominated by the UN Commission on Human Rights.