(Reuters) – Syria’s neighbors Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraqare cutting back sharply on the number of Syrians they allow onto their soil as they can no longer cope with the influx of refugees, two prominent humanitarian agencies said on Thursday.
The number of refugees able to flee their country’s civil war fell 88 percent in October compared with the 2013 monthly average, to 18,453 people from over 150,000, the International Rescue Committee and the Norwegian Refugee Council reported.
“Humanitarian organizations have repeatedly warned that the capacities of the host communities have been stretched to the limits and argued for better international burden-sharing,” said Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council.
Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq have taken in more than three million Syrian since the conflict began in 2011, while countries outside the region have agreed to accept around 50,000, or less than 2 percent of the total refugee population.
“What we are witnessing now are the results of our failure to deliver the necessary support to the region. We are witnessing a total collapse of international solidarity with millions of Syrian civilians,” said Egeland.
In October, Lebanon, which has the highest per capita concentration of refugees in the world at one in four residents, said it could not cope with more than one million Syrians and has asked for funds to help look after them.
Resentment against Syrians has grown with many complaining that refugees are taking jobs, driving down wages, overloading schools and hospitals and even worsening an electricity shortage which pre-dates the war in Syria.