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.
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Despite hardships faced by Zaatari residents, including insufficient supplies of electricity and water, persistent dust and delayed schooling at the camp, Jolie said at least the refugees have found some measure of safety.Skip to next paragraph
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"I'm grateful to Jordan and all the border countries for keeping their borders open, for saving these people's lives," she told reporters gathered under a Bedouin tent. "They are dying in Syria. If they were unable escape with their families, many of the people here, many of people I met today would in fact be dead. It's an extraordinary thing that they are doing."
Jolie, who has six children with Brad Pitt, also expressed concern for the alarming numbers of children who are reported dead, wounded or unaccompanied after their parents were killed.
"It's impossible to imagine any mother standing by and not stepping up and doing something to prevent this," she said. "We encourage the international community to support the people here until one day they go back home."
The UNHCR in April promoted Jolie from serving as its goodwill ambassador to special envoy due to her exceptional work for the agency.
Jordan opened the Zaatari facility for Syrians in July after long delaying a decision on whether to set up refugee camps, possibly to avoid Assad's autocratic regime by showing images at his doorstep of civilians fleeing his military onslaught.
In Geneva, the UNHCR said Tuesday that while the agency has 253,106 people registered or awaiting registration as Syrian refugees, the real number is likely far higher since tens of thousands are believed to have not yet registered. Some are getting help from family or friends, while some are afraid to register for fear of possible consequences from Assad's regime. Agency spokesman Adrian Edwards said that figure includes 85,197 in Jordan, 78,431 in Turkey, 66,915 in Lebanon and 22,563 in Iraq as of this week.
Diplomatic efforts have so far failed to stop the bloodshed in Syria, but the new U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi plans to travel to Syria this week in a bid to revive them. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Brahimi will sit down with President Bashar Assad during an upcoming visit, although the date has not been announced.
"First and foremost, the violence must stop by both sides, regardless of their political grievances or problems may be. That is not acceptable," Bah said at a news conference in the Swiss capital of Bern.