U.N.: Syrians soon to become world’s biggest refugee population, surpassing Afghans

n13-iconThe Associated Press reports: Syrians could soon overtake Afghans as the world’s biggest refugee population, with their numbers expected to pass 4 million by year’s end, a top U.N. official said Tuesday.

High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres spoke as the international community sharply urged Syria to comply with a new Security Council resolution demanding that President Bashar Assad and the opposition provide immediate access for humanitarian aid.

Opposition activists say more than 140,000 people have died in the conflict, which enters its fourth year next month. The U.N. says 9.3 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance.

The number of Afghan refugees was 2.6 million at the end of 2012, UNHCR says. Syrians, with nearly 2.5 million registered as refugees, should overtake that long before the end of the year. About one-half of the refugees are children.

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