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Statement by UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt at a press conference outside an informal refugee settlement in Fayda, in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley
Press Releases, 15 March 2016

Good morning, I am pleased to be back in Lebanon today.
I want to thank the Lebanese people for helping to save the lives of over 1 million Syrians.
It is not easy for a country to take in the equivalent of a quarter of its own population in refugees.
But for as much as it is a responsibility, I hope you are aware of the message it sends about the values and character and spirit of the Lebanese people.
You are setting an example to the world of generosity, humanity, resilience and solidarity.
On behalf of UNHCR, and on my own behalf, shukran, thank you.
We should never forget that for all the focus on the refugee situation in Europe at this time, the greatest pressure is still being felt in the Middle East and North Africa, as it has for each of the last five years.
There are 4.8 million Syrian refugees in this region, and 6.5 million people displaced inside Syria.
On this day, the 5th anniversary of the Syria conflict, that is where I had hoped I would be: in Syria, helping UNHCR with returns, and watching families I have come to know be able to go home.
It is tragic and shameful that we seem to be so far from that point.


As old as the war: 5-year-old Syrians grow up away from home
By The Associated Press
Mar. 14, 2016 3:39 AM EDT

BEIRUT (AP) — They are as old as the Syrian war: Five-year-old Syrian children growing up as refugees in foreign, unfamiliar places far away from home.
They are the silent victims of a horrific war, innocent of the violence that surrounds them yet already familiar with grown-up words like war, airstrike, militias and refugees.
Some were born in Syria but along with their families fled war and siege soon after. Others were born in neighboring countries. Some are getting ready for the treacherous journey to Europe and others have already made it.
None will have any recollection of what Syria was like before the war.

On the 5th anniversary of the Syrian war, The Associated Press met with five-year-old Syrian children and their parents in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Greece. The AP also asked their parents what they would share with their children about the Syria they knew. Some were hesitant, as if reminiscing was a luxury. Some spoke freely. Sadness is the dominant theme.

Winda was born in a village outside Malikiyah in the Kurdish part of northeastern Syria, where her father Sharif Farman Haji, 44, worked as a lorry driver on the Malikiyah-Qamishli route. Her family took refuge in the Kawergosk refugee camp outside of Irbil, in northern Iraq, in August 2012 but their troubles didn't end there. Her uncle died fighting IS in Kobani in the ranks of the Iraqi Peshmerga.
Winda is now in kindergarten and her older brother Juwan, 8, is in school. She has a little sister, Gulistan, who is 2. Winda shows great talent in drawing and her parents say she is very impatient to go to kindergarten every morning.