UN: Global refugee figures jump due to Syria conflict

Photo: UN: Global refugee figures jump due to Syria conflict / Arabic region

The Syrian crisis has pushed up the global number of refugees and internally displaced people in the first half of the year, and 2013 is set to see some of the highest figures ever, the UN refugee agency said Friday in Geneva.

"The biggest producer of new displacement was Syria," the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.

Its half-year report was issued as top foreign ministry officials from the United States and Russia were set to meet international Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi at the United Nations in Geneva to prepare for the Syria peace talks, which are due to start on January 22 in nearby Montreux, dpa reported.

There are now 6.5 million people displaced within Syria, while 2.3 million have fled to countries in the region, according to the latest available UN figures.

Globally, an estimated 5.9 million people were forced to leave their homes between January and June, compared with 7.6 million for the entire previous year.

The first half of the year was "one of the worst periods for forced displacement in decades," UNHCR said.

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