Angelina Jolie sheds light in Syria

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

Syria's location on a global map.
Syria’s location on a global map.

Superstar and Oscar-winning celebrity Angelina Jolie has an inner beauty that she selflessly uses to heal the world. Never content to merely stay at home and enjoy the luxury that comes with fame, talent, and her equally successful husband Brad Pitt, Jolie is very active in tackling important issues for the less fortunate. Most recently, she has begun urging the international community to aid the refugees who have fled their homes in the war-torn country of Syria.

Where is Syria, exactly? Officially known as the Syrian Arab Republic, it is a Middle Eastern country sandwiched between Turkey and Iraq. In March 2011, Syria joined the Arab Spring revolutions that forced rulers from power in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, and led to major protests in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Sudan. Unfortunately, Syria’s revolution turned into a full-blown civil war that has caused untold destruction for the past year.

Now, Jolie, who is the Special Envoy for the United Nations refugee agency, says that the Syrian conflict has created “the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century.”

She personally traveled to Syria to talk with the refugees, listening to the tragic stories of men, women, and children who were forced to flee the destruction of the civil war between rebels and the totalitarian government. Arriving with UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), António Guterres, Jolie called for action while giving a talk at the Jordan-Syria border. She said, “The international response to this crisis falls short of the vast scale of this human tragedy.” There are approximately 1.6 million refugees, currently being housed by countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, and Iraq. The UNHCR estimates that the total number of refugees may reach 3.5 million by the end of 2013.

Besides refugees, there are also 6.8 million who need humanitarian assistance, and the UNHCR says it needs $3 billion to fund agencies that help the Syrians. Hopefully, with Jolie bringing attention to these defenseless refugees, the world will lend a hand and join forces with the UN.

Featured image courtesy of Laban-Mattei/UNHCR.