Breaking Down the Numbers of the Syrian Refugee Crisis

A Syrian refugee stands on top of a water tank at Zaatari refugee camp, near the Syrian border in Mafraq, Jordan, January 9, 2013. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Caroline Raclin is a Special Assistant in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) at the U.S. Department of State. She traveled with a joint State Department-USAID delegation to Turkey, Jordan, and Kuwait January 22-31, 2013.

It was near midnight. We were driving in the desert with no headlights, and Syria was 20 feet to my left. To the right was a mass of shapes — it took me a minute to realize I was looking at 850 Syrians who had just crossed safely into Jordan. One man was carrying designer luggage normally seen in airplane cabins; one girl had no shoes. I walked amongst these scared, war-numbed people, and it hit me that this was only a tiny portion of those leaving Syria.

Roughly 763,000 people have fled Syria — 240,000 to Jordan — and an estimated 2.5 million are displaced internally. Before that night, those numbers seemed horrific, but had little real meaning to me. They are round statistics, indicators of an escalating war. But after hearing a woman recall her husband’s death and a family describe their village being leveled by barrels of explosives, I better understood the scale… more »

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