Angelina Jolie: We Must Help Syria, Iraq Refugees
We're not doing nearly enough, actress writes
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2015 11:33 AM CST
In this image released by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie meets with Syrian refugees at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012.   (AP Photo/Jason Tanner, UNHCR)

(Newser) – The suffering in the Middle East is the worst since Angelina Jolie first started visiting refugee camps in Iraq in 2007, she writes in a New York Times column today. She tells stories of "displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees are desperately seeking shelter from the fighting that has convulsed their region," such as the mother whose daughter has been taken by ISIS, the 13-year-old girl who was kept in warehouses except when she was taken out and raped, the woman Jolie's age whose entire family was killed in front of her, and the 19-year-old devotedly caring for his seven siblings after their father was killed and their mother went missing. "Who can blame them for thinking that we have given up on them?" she writes.

"Only a fraction of the humanitarian aid they need is being provided. There has been no progress on ending the war in Syria since the Geneva process collapsed 12 months ago. Syria is in flames, and areas of Iraq are gripped by fighting. The doors of many nations are bolted against them." And Syria's neighbors, which have taken in millions of refugees, can't hold many more. We cannot ignore this crisis, Jolie writes. "The spread of extremism, the surge in foreign fighters, the threat of new terrorism—only an end to the war in Syria will begin to turn the tide on these problems." Countries outside the region must open their doors to these refugees, more assistance must be offered, and a peace settlement must be struck. Click for her full column.