How Bad Is Syria’s Refugee Crisis? Here’s Some (Staggering) Perspective.

Dispatches from the front.
June 11 2014 11:01 AM

The Unthinkable Scale of the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Jordan’s fourth largest city is a refugee camp. Lebanon’s population is a quarter refugee.  

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The Al Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees in northeast Jordan, on Nov. 7, 2012.

Photo by Salah Malkawi/Getty Images

Slate has partnered with Brooklyn Brewery to bring its hit war correspondent interview series to our readers. In this first installment, Steve Hindy, founder of Brooklyn Brewery and a former Associated Press foreign correspondent himself, sits down with Deborah Amos, NPR's Middle East correspondent and the author of  Eclipse of the Sunnis. See earlier segments here and check back later this week for more.

In this clip, Deborah Amos describes the ongoing refugee crisis in Syria as the worst catastrophe of its kind this century, comparing it to India and Pakistan in 1948. She offers some perspective on the stunning scale of the Syrian diaspora, citing hard-to-fathom numbers—such as estimates that by 2015, there will be 2 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, a country of 4.5 million people—and noting that even the United Nations is at wit’s end in its efforts to explain the escalating crisis.

A.J. McCarthy is a Slate video blogger.

Ayana Morali is the co-executive producer of Slate V.

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