United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and top officials from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey urged Wednesday in Geneva for greater support from the international community as the number of Syrian refugees reached two million.
The appeal was made after Antonio Guterres, United Nations Refugee Agency High Commissioner, met with Wael Abu Faour, Lebanon's Minister of Social Affairs, Nasser Judeh, Jordan's Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey's Foreign Minister, and Hoshyar Zebari, Iraqi Foreign Minister on Wednesday.
In a joint statement released after the event, the high commissioner and the four ministers expressed serious concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the region and the devastating impact this is having on countries hosting large Syrian refugee populations, and called for an urgent and major expansion of international help for the region.
Antonio Guterres repeatedly underlined at a press conference following the meeting that the objective of the meeting was to seek better protection of the Syrian refugees, stronger involvement of the international community in support to refugees and hosting countries, and to create conditions for the conflict to end and for the root cause of refugees to be stopped.
He noted that what the neighboring countries that host Syrian refugees are doing is "an enormous service on behalf of the international community as a whole", and they are "paying an extremely heavy price", with resources overstretched.
"The impact of such a large number of refugees in their economies, in their societies, the impact of conflict next door in their national security is something needs to be fully recognised by the international community," said he, adding that the huge refugee presence is having an impact that requires effective international solidarity.
"We strongly appealed to the international community to overcome existing differences and come together to stop the fighting. All actions that are creating refugee flows need to cease. A political solution to end this cycle of horror is urgently needed. There is no humanitarian solution to the Syrian crisis; rather there needs to be a political solution than ends the humanitarian crisis," Guterres urged.