BEIRUT — Syrians seeking to escape their country’s multiple conflicts face “a new level of hopelessness” as neighboring nations increasingly close their borders to refugees, a report said Thursday.
The overall conclusions are not new as the region struggles with an unprecedented refugee crisis that began with the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011 and has deepened with advances by the Islamic State militant group.
But the findings by the report, compiled by he Norwegian Refugee Council and the International Rescue Committee, offer new figures to suggest that Syrians are being blocked from the routes to neighboring Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq.
The number of U.N.-registered people fleeing Syria fell from an average of 150,000 a month in 2013 to a mere 18,483 in October, or an 88 percent drop, according to the report, titled “No Escape.”
“Life for Syrians trying to escape violence has reached a new level of hopelessness,” the report said.
About 3.3 million Syrians are estimated to have fled abroad. The president of the International Rescue Committee, former British foreign minister David Miliband, said countries such as Jordan and Lebanon have economies and infrastructure that “can no longer cope with the increased burden.”
“They need our help,” he said.
Lebanon — with more than 1 million Syrians amid a native population of about 4.4 million — has more refugees per capita than any other. Last month, it announced it would no longer receive Syrian refugees except for those facing exceptional circumstances.
Turkey sent troops to its border with Syria after more than 200,000 refugees fled the Islamic State siege on the town of Kobane since September.
Citing U.N. figures, the report noted that although the international community has pledged to resettle or admit 50,000 Syrian refugees, only 7,000 have been taken in as of this month.
“More refugees have been displaced from Syria in the last month than have been resettled outside the region in the last three years,” Miliband said, calling this “a depressing failure of international solidarity.”