Displaced Syrians, refugees exceed 9 million

ISTANBUL - Around 9.5 million people have become refugees or internally displaced people (IDPs) within Syrian territories, according to a London-based rights group.

Around 6.5 million are now IDPs and 3.5 million refugees amid the ongoing Syrian civil war, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) says in its latest report.

Around 50 percent of recorded refugees are children while 35 percent are women.

Meanwhile, the rights group notes that 45 percent of IDPs are under 18.

The total IDP figure of 6.5 million, as of September 2013, marks a 62 percent increase from that of 4 million in November 2012.

The report stresses that relief organizations and local humanitarian committees cannot cope with the vast number of displaced persons, 60 percent of whom are in danger of hunger.

Almost 2.9 million buildings have been destroyed since the civil war’s start in March 2011, making their widespread destruction the main cause for displacement.

Most IDPs in recent months come from the Damascus countryside and Aleppo, which have been subjected to random shelling, the SNHR notes.

Fear of rape during raids by security forces, the army and Shabiha – an armed militia group from President Bashar al-Assad’s regime – are also a leading cause.

Meanwhile, 75 percent of the approximately 650 thousand Palestinian refugees who were seeking refuge in Syria are now displaced inside Syrian territory, the report adds.

According to the United Nations figures, 3.5 million people are internally displaced in Syria whereas 2.5 million have sought refuge in neighboring countries.

However, the U.N. announced in January it would no longer update its records on the death toll in Syria due to dangerous conditions on the ground.

The rights group says the three-year civil war has killed 140,000 people.

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