In camp visit, UN chief appeals for more support for Syrian refugees

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres with students at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. Photo: Stephane Dujarric

Failure to support refugees only helps extremist groups to recruit more people into their ranks, the UN Secretary-General said on Tuesday.

António Guterres was speaking to reporters during a visit to the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, home to nearly 80,000 Syrians who have fled the conflict in their homeland.

He called on the international community to step up support for Syrian refugees and the countries hosting them.

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr Guterres, a former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, recalled that he saw the first Syrians streaming over the border into Jordan when the conflict began six years ago.

With intra-Syrian talks underway again in Geneva, he appealed to the warring parties, and the countries that have influence on them, to make peace.

The UN chief described the Syrian crisis as a "tragedy" for the country's people which has also threatened regional stability and global security.

Furthermore, it has also become more difficult for Syrians to find refuge in other countries.

"This is the moment to say that if the world fails to support refugees, the world is only helping those like Daesh and al Qaeda that use these arguments in order to be able to recruit more people to put at risk our global security.  Solidarity with Syrian refugees is also a way to be able to express our capacity to guarantee global security. It's not only an act of generosity. It's also an act of enlightened self-interest."

 Mr Guterres called for increased humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees as well as more solidarity towards supporting countries like Jordan and Lebanon which are hosting them.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'27"

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