U.N. Official Calls Situation in Syria and Iraq 'Unsustainable'

A displaced man in Iraq waits behind a fence for relief aid.

The war that has engulfed Syria and spread into Iraq has displaced 14 million people, including four million Syrian refugees scattered to neighboring countries, and it has created "host fatigue," which has further aggravated the crisis, United Nations officials said Friday.

Mr. Guterres expressed particular worry about enormous stresses imposed on Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, which have absorbed nearly all of the Syrians who have fled, echoing recent Jordanian warnings that "we are seeing a growing 'host fatigue.'"

In remarks to the United Nations Security Council, the officials also rebuked its 15 members for what they called a failure to exert authority to intervene in the four-year-old Syria war, which has left 220,000 people dead.

The officials described the Iraqi territorial gains of the Islamic State, the Syria-based extremist group, as an unforeseen shock to an already overstretched emergency aid system. They called the crisis in both countries a contributor to the surge of people risking death at sea to reach Europe.

"One think is clear: the situation in the region has become utterly unsustainable," Antonio Guterres, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, said in remarks to the Council. He called the crisis "a cancer that risks spreading and metastasizing."

"There are increasing tensions between communities, as local families struggle harder to cope the longer the conflict drags on," he said.

The situation in Iraq has been compounded by that country's own surging population of displaced people. Doctors Without Borders, the medical charity, said in a statement Friday that 2.6 million Iraqis were now on the run from conflict, "making this one of the biggest displacement crises in recent decades."

From The New York Times

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U.N. Official Calls Situation in Syria and Iraq 'Unsustainable'
U.N. Official Calls Situation in Syria and Iraq 'Unsustainable'
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