3

The civil unrest in Syria has been going on for the last eight years and millions of people have fled to neighboring countries where they are forced to live in refugee camps. Angelina Jolie had visited the desert camp of Zaatari in Jordan recently and the condition has moved her. She is not just an actor of Hollywood but is engaged in humanitarian work as a part of the UNHCR

Sky News reports that she is a special envoy for the UN refugee agency and this was her fifth visit to Jordan. She was heartbroken to see the hardship and trauma that these refugees are forced to face due to the civil war.

The pathetic conditions

Jordan, Lebanon, and other neighboring countries have accommodated more than 5 million refugees of Syria who have been displaced by the civil war raging between the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the rebels.

The number of registered refugees in Jordan is believed to be more than 650,000 with nearly 78,000 in Zaatari. The war had taken ugly turns with allegations of the use of chemical weapons, and the tension continues.

In the course of her visit to the camp, located near the Syrian border, Angelina Jolie met a section of the refugee families. She was all praises for countries that had opened their doors to accept the additional burden of displaced persons. There are hurdles of funds because the agency had received only a portion of the requested funding last year, and hardly anything this year. In her opinion, humanitarian aid is not a long-term solution. What is needed is a political settlement between the warring factions.

UNHCR adds that the war has taken a huge toll on these refugees most of whom have exhausted whatever savings they had.

They are right now living below the poverty line, without any basic amenities like proper food, medical facilities, and shelter. They are educated and capable persons but circumstances have reduced them to be dependent on the handout of others.

Civil war in Syria

According to BBC, the pro-democracy protests erupted in Syria in March 2011 in the southern city of Deraa following the arrest and torture of some teenagers that led to deaths. That resulted in nationwide protests demanding the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, and the unrest kept spreading. Those opposed to the regime took up arms that finally led to the civil war.

In 2013, chemical attacks targeted Damascus, the capital, killing hundreds. The death toll in Syria, as per activists and the UN, kept mounting from 90,000 in 2013 to 250,000 in 2015 and people fled to neighboring countries as refugees.

The visit of Angelina Jolie to the refugee camp is an eye-opener. It has highlighted the pathetic state of affairs in the country even after nearly eight years, and the leaders must try to end the unrest and bring back normalcy.