The civil war in Syria has forced over 2 million people out of the country and over 4 million others are displaced within its borders, making Syria the nation with the largest number of people torn from their homes right now, U.N. officials said Tuesday.
If the conflict continues 3.5 million Syrian refugees are expected by the end of the year, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said.
“At this particular moment it’s the highest number of displaced people anywhere in the world,” he told reporters in Geneva. “Syria has become the great tragedy of this century — a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history.”
Almost 5,000 citizens a day on average are flowing out of Syria — a country of some 23 million people — many of them with little more than the clothes they are wearing, Guterres said. The number of refugees has surged by 1.8 million in just 12 months — up from almost 231,000 a year ago.