The office of the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) previously said it reckoned 1m people would have fled Syria by June. But already more than 700,000 have done so—and that includes only those who have been registered. The UNHCR will have to reassess an already dire situation.Note that the UN also estimates that at least 2 million people are displaced within Syria and that overall the UN refugee agency is helping about one in five Syrians (out of 23 million) who are either in or out of the country.
Western governments are still loth to arm the rebels. Meanwhile, a sea of tents is growing on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey, where refugee camps are already bursting. And Jordan is turning back Palestinians fleeing from Syria, fearing lest they brew trouble among Jordan’s own disgruntled Palestinian people. The Jordanian government has threatened to shut the borders completely if the rate of incoming refugees gets even bigger.
On January 29th around 80 male corpses, their hands bound and heads holed with gunshot wounds, were pulled out of a river near Aleppo. Mr Assad is pummelling rebel-held areas such as the Damascus suburb of Daraya into rubble in his determination to keep them under his control. In such circumstances, the incentive to leave is plainly growing. Syria’s refugee crisis is out of hand.