Angelina Jolie: Will her visit to Jordan help Syrian refugees? (+video)
Angelina Jolie met with women Syrian refugees in Jordan. Jordan has taken in some 200,000 Syrians – the largest number in the region.
Her eyes welling up with tears, actress Angelina Jolie said she heard "horrific" and "heartbreaking" accounts from Syrian refugees she met Tuesday during a visit to a camp in Jordan that has provided shelter for those fleeing the civil war in the neighboring country.Skip to next paragraph
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The Hollywood star, who is also the U.N. refugee agency's special envoy, spoke after meeting a group of women refugees at the Zaatari camp, which hosts about 30,000 Syrians displaced by the 18-month conflict.
"I am very concerned, the world is very concerned," Jolie said during a high-profile visit U.N. refugee agency's special envoy aimed at focusing international attention on the plight of Syrian refugees and attracting more funding to help them. "What is very heartbreaking is when Syrian people ask you why you think no one is able to find a solution for them."
Jolie met separately with the Syrian refugee women as U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh toured the sprawling tent city. She also went to the border late Monday and met with Syrian refugees as they crossed into Jordan.
"What they described on the ground, hearing it from them is so horrific," she said, adding that the children's stories were especially moving, including some who said they had witnessed people being pulled apart "like chickens."
"When you meet so many innocent people and civilians, the people of Syria are asking who is on their side. 'Who is going to help us as the months go on?" she added.
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the chaos as an uprising against President Bashar Assad has become increasingly violent, with activists saying at least 23,000 people have died since the conflict began in March 2011.
According to Guterres, Jordan alone has taken in some 200,000 Syrians — the largest number in the region. Both the U.N. refugee agency and Jordan said the figure reflects actual numbers of Syrians housed in the kingdom as opposed to a smaller figure of those Syrian refugees who have registered with the UNHCR or who are awaiting registration.
"This mission that we are sharing has a key objective. It is to draw attention to the international community to express a much more stronger solidarity with Syrian refugees and the host countries that have kept their borders open to all those fleeing the conflict," Guterres said.
The refugee chief acknowledged the sheer numbers are taking a toll on Jordan's economy and resources, stressing that the "camp needs massive international funding" and that its conditions were "still not acceptable."
UNHCR says it has so far only received a little over $9 million in aid for a regional appeal it has made for the Syrian refugees.