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Half of the population of Syria will need aid by year's end says UNHCR Chief

Talk about a dire situation in Syria - and, of course, children are suffering the most.

"More than half the population of Syria is likely to be in need of aid by the end of the year, the UN high commissioner for refugees has warned, while labelling the ever-worsening crisis as the most serious the global body has dealt with.

António Guterres, who has led the UNHCR through the worst of the refugee crises in Afghanistan and Iraq, said the Syrian civil war was more brutal and destructive than both and was already the worst humanitarian disaster since the end of the cold war.

His assessment came as the UN released new data on the numbers of refugees, which revealed that 6.8 million Syrians need aid. That figure is likely to reach at least 10 million, more than half the pre-war population of the country.

Another UN body, Unicef, says half of those in need are children.

"I don't remember any other crisis where we are having 8,000 per day [fleeing across borders], every day since February," Guterres said in an interview with the Guardian. "There will very likely be 3.5 million by the end of the year. We will have half the population of Syria in dire need of assistance and this is incomprehensible."

With the civil war now into its third year and increasingly taking the shape of a proxy regional war fought across a sectarian faultline, aid groups are making ever more strident predictions of a catastrophic funding shortfall.

Guterres goes further, warning that the modern boundaries of the Middle East and the post-Ottoman agreements that underpin them may unravel if the crisis is not brought to an end."


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