Fight Against ISIS in Syria Could Heighten Refugee Crisis: U.N.

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The refugee population in Syria is the largest in the world and growing in staggering rates by the day as a result of ISIS militant terror and those fighting against them, the head of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHRC) said Tuesday. Nearly 140,000 Syrian refugees crossed the border into Turkey in the course of five days, bringing the total number of refugees to 3,200,000, the head of UNHCR, António Guterres, told NBC News. Another 6 million people are displaced inside Syria, he said, adding, "the levels of suffering are unimaginable, and you don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel."

"We need to be prepared for things to get worse before they get better," Guterres said, adding that he hopes the U.S., while conducting airstrikes, and others fighting ISIS will "try to avoid as much as possible any collateral damage." Guterres said UNHCR was reaching a point in which the organization is "no longer able to respond to the tragic needs of people,” and called on those contributing to the war to "overcome their contradictions."

"This war is not winnable," Guterres said "The more people persisting trying to win the war, the more people will suffer."



— Ann Curry and Elisha Fieldstadt