Angelina Jolie, with tear in her eyes said she was moved by the “horrific” and “heartbreaking” stories from Syrian refugees who fled their country’s civil war to shelter in Jordan, reports AP.
She met with nearly 200 new Syrian refugees near Mafraq, Jordan, overnight September 11, according to Us Weekly.
The actress and UNHCR special envoy was joined by high commissioner for refugees Antonio Guterres and Jordanian foreign minister Nasser Judeh.
The Za’atri refugee camp hosts about 28,000 Syrians displaced by the 18-month conflict. Guterres told the Associated Press the “camp needs massive international funding” and that “the conditions are still not acceptable.”
After talking to Syrian women and touring the tent city, a teary-eyed Jolie shared the refugees’ “horrific” and “heartbreaking” stories with the Associated Press.
“I am very concerned; the world is very concerned,” the Academy Award winner and mother-of-six said. “What is very heartbreaking is when Syrian people ask you why you think no one is able to find a solution for them. What they described on the ground, hearing it from them, is so horrific.”
She said that children’s stories were especially moving. “What they described on the ground, hearing it from them is so horrific.”
And she added, “When you meet so many innocent people and civilians, the people of Syria are asking who is on their side. ‘Who is going to help us as the months go on?’ “
The actress also said some of the refugees expressed fears “there will be no more of us” left in Syria as the relentless bloodshed grinds on, reports AP.
Jolie also met separately with Syrian refugee women and toured the sprawling tent city in the company of U.N. refugee chief Antonio Guterres and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh. According to Guterres, Jordan has taken in some 200,000 Syrians — the largest number in the region. The refugee chief acknowledged the sheer numbers are taking a toll on Jordan’s economy and resources, stressing that the “camp needs massive international funding” and that its conditions were “still not acceptable.”
According to spokesman for the UNHCR, “Refugees tell us that artillery and air attacks are continuing in villages and towns close to the Jordanian border. There are reports of thousands of displaced people in Syria’s south, moving from village to village seeking safety before they can cross the border.”
“This mission that we are sharing has a key objective,” Guterres added. “It is to draw attention to the international community to express a much more stronger solidarity with Syrian refugees and the host countries that have kept their borders open to all those fleeing the conflict.”
Guterres and Jolie are planning to meet Jordan’s King Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein, Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh and Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Judeh mid-afternoon September 11.
The Syrian civil war has been raging for more than a year and a half, and Tuesday morning a fresh face stepped into the mix, as Jolie visited the Al Za’atri refugee camp near the country’s border with Jordan.
“It’s been a very heavy experience, because oftentimes you come to these camps and … very rarely do you … meet them as they cross the border and you get to know people the moment they become a refugee,” said Jolie in a press conference. “The moment they’ve forever lost their home, their livelihood, their education, everything they have been is gone, and when I ask them, ‘What did you bring?’ they say ‘This’ (plucks at her shirt) ‘The shirt on my back.'”
“It is a… very, very critical time. So for all the politicians out there — and we are not them — we hope and pray that they figure out something soon because people are dying, hundreds and hundreds of people are dying every day.”
In April, Jolie was promoted to the diplomat-level position of UNHCR special envoy after serving more than 10 years as a goodwill ambassador. She is currently engaged to actor and philanthropist Brad Pitt, 48, her costar from the 2005 film Mr. & Mrs. Smith.