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Syria Regional Response Plan (January - December 2013)

Donors, 7 June 2013

© UNHCR/B.Sokol
Syrian refugee children take shelter against the cold and fog shortly after arriving in Jordan early in the morning in November 2012

Since the launch of the last Regional Response Plan (RRP) in December 2012, an additional one million Syrians have become refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. This makes it the fastest growing refugee crisis this year. With little prospect of being able to safely return to their homes in the short term and growing hardship in host countries, Syrians face desperate circumstances. At the same time, the Governments of the region hosting Syrian refugees and the humanitarian community face an increasingly challenging and complex humanitarian crisis which, beyond refugees' immediate protection and assistance needs, threatens the balance of the entire region.

Over 1.5 million Syrian refugees are now hosted across five countries, each with its own set of domestic priorities and concerns in which events in Syria and the influx of refugees are increasingly playing a central role. Based on arrival trends since the beginning of the year, it is estimated that the number of Syrian refugees in need of assistance across the region may reach 3.45 million by the end of 2013, hosted in camps and, for the most part, in local communities.

For Lebanon and Jordan, the two countries hosting the highest number of refugees both in absolute terms and relative to their own population, this generosity has come at a heavy price, not least for the many communities welcoming refugees. Acknowledging the fact that the response in these countries needs to address the wider impact of the refugee influx, the inter-agency response plans of Lebanon and Jordan are presented alongside plans developed by these Governments in close coordination with the humanitarian actors on the ground in order to ensure the compatibility and non-duplication of activities.

The numbers presented in this Plan are staggering. They represent a tragedy for Syria, but also give an indication of the burden placed on the recipient countries. This is also recognized in the overarching priorities for this response, namely:

1. Protection (Access to asylum and registration; Child Protection; Sexual and Gender-Based Violence)

2. Life-Saving Assistance

3. Access to Basic Services

4. Durable Solutions (Humanitarian Admissions and Resettlement)

5. Preparedness

6. Community Outreach: support to urban refugees and host communities

The total financial requirements in this Regional Response Plan amount to close to US$ 3 billion for international agencies and NGOs and an additional US$ 830 million for the Governments of Jordan and Lebanon.

For decades, Syria and the Syrian people have generously hosted thousands of refugees from the Arab World and beyond. In 2012, Syria was the third largest asylum country in the world. It is time to extend the same support to the Syrian people in these difficult times. International solidarity must be urgently reinforced. By taking in thousands of new refugees every day, the countries on the frontline of this crisis are doing the region and indeed, the world, an extraordinary service. Helping them deal with the consequences of the refugee crisis is imperative.

Syria Regional Response Plan January December 2013

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Iraqi Children Go To School in Syria

UNHCR aims to help 25,000 refugee children go to school in Syria by providing financial assistance to families and donating school uniforms and supplies.

There are some 1.4 million Iraqi refugees living in Syria, most having fled the extreme sectarian violence sparked by the bombing of the Golden Mosque of Samarra in 2006.

Many Iraqi refugee parents regard education as a top priority, equal in importance to security. While in Iraq, violence and displacement made it difficult for refugee children to attend school with any regularity and many fell behind. Although education is free in Syria, fees associated with uniforms, supplies and transportation make attending school impossible. And far too many refugee children have to work to support their families instead of attending school.

To encourage poor Iraqi families to register their children, UNHCR plans to provide financial assistance to at least 25,000 school-age children, and to provide uniforms, books and school supplies to Iraqi refugees registered with UNHCR. The agency will also advise refugees of their right to send their children to school, and will support NGO programmes for working children.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Iraqi Children Go To School in Syria

Iraqi Refugees in Syria: 2,000 New Arrivals Daily

The UN refugee agency is increasingly alarmed over the continuing violence in Iraq and distressed about the lack of an international humanitarian response to deal with the massive numbers of people being displaced. After an assessment mission in November last year, UNHCR officials warned that the agency was facing an even larger humanitarian crisis than it had prepared for in 2002-03. But UNHCR and other organisations are sorely lacking in funds to cope with the growing numbers of displaced.

In an effort to fill the massive gap in funding, UNHCR in January 2007 launched a US$60 million appeal to cover its protection and assistance programmes for Iraqi refugees in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey, as well as non Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people within strife torn Iraq.

The longer the Iraq conflict goes on, the more difficult it will become for the hundreds of thousands of displaced and the communities that are trying to help them – both inside and outside Iraq. Because the burden on host communities and governments in the region is enormous, it is essential that the international community support humanitarian efforts.

Posted on 5 February 2007

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UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie meets Iraqi refugees in Syria

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie returned to the Syrian capital Damascus on 2 October, 2009 to meet Iraqi refugees two years after her last visit. The award-winning American actress, accompanied by her partner Brad Pitt, took the opportunity to urge the international community not to forget the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees who remain in exile despite a relative improvement in the security situation in their homeland. Jolie said most Iraqi refugees cannot return to Iraq in view of the severe trauma they experienced there, the uncertainty linked to the coming Iraqi elections, the security issues and the lack of basic services. They will need continued support from the international community, she said. The Goodwill Ambassador visited the homes of two vulnerable Iraqi families in the Jaramana district of southern Damascus. She was particularly moved during a meeting with a woman from a religious minority who told Jolie how she was physically abused and her son tortured after being abducted earlier this year in Iraq and held for days. They decided to flee to Syria, which has been a generous host to refugees.

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie meets Iraqi refugees in Syria

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