Meet Bushra - the 19-year-old mother who became the millionth refugee to flee Syria

In excess of half the refugees are children who face the prospect of having their lives forever blighted by the conflict

Bushra, a 19 year-old mother of two, became the one millionth registered refugee from the Syrian civil war today as she gave here details to a UNHCR official in the Lebanese city of Tripoli.

Bushra refused to give her full name for fear of reprisal, but told reporters that she escaped the restive city of Homs several weeks ago and had since been forced to live in Tripoli, sharing a room with 20 other people.

“Our life conditions are very bad, it is very expensive here (in Lebanon) and we cannot find any work,” she said at the UNHCR centre in the city.

The dark milestone will mean little to Bushra or the others who have made the often harrowing journey to flee the bitter, bloody and seemingly endless war, which in a week’s time will be two years old. More desperate perhaps is the fact that in excess of half of the million people are children who face the prospect of having their lives forever blighted by the conflict.

More than a third of the refugees have left Syria since the start of this year, putting ever greater pressure on camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. The head of the UNHCR today warned that Syria was heading towards a “full scale disaster”.

“With a million people in flight, millions more displaced internally, and thousands of people continuing to cross the border every day, Syria is spiralling towards full-scale disaster,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. “We are doing everything we can to help, but the international humanitarian response capacity is dangerously stretched. This tragedy has to be stopped.”

Those crossing Syria’s borders – many coming from the battle-scarred cities of Homs and Aleppo - may now avoid the risk to their lives caused by bombs and bullets, but the UN has warned that funding for the over-crowded refugee camps is dangerously low. Alexis Masciarelli, Unicef’s communications officer in Jordan, said: “Initially the donor countries were very generous, but the money is beginning to dry up – it’s now a very serious problem. Our estimate at the start of the year was that there would be 300,000 new refuges by the end of June and that we would need $57m – we’ve only raised 20 per cent of that, and the 300,000 will be in the camps by the end of the month.”

As well as those escaping Syria, in excess of 70,000 people are now thought to have been killed in the fighting, which, with President Bashar al-Assad still looking secure in Damascus and the rebels controlling large areas of the country, looks set to continue for some time.

There has been increasing pressure on Western governments to intervene, but they have largely been stymied by Russia and China in attempting to find an international solution to the crisis.

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, told the House of Commons today that the West agreed that there was no case for military intervention in Syria, but admitted that the world’s efforts to try to end the bloodshed there had been “an abject failure”.

A number of Gulf nations, particularly Qatar, are thought to have provided weaponry to the rebels. The UK, and others in the West, has restricted support to medical provisions and communications equipment.

In his speech, Mr Hague announced that the UK will provide new armoured vehicles and body armour to opposition forces in Syria, which would “help save lives”. The new provisions, worth £13m, will also include medication and other “non-lethal” military and logistical equipment. The move followed a similar announcement by the US government last week, when it offered £40m worth of similar aid.

The UK was unable to “look the other way,” Mr Hague told the Commons. “The cabinet is in no doubt that this is a necessary, proportionate and lawful response to a situation of extreme humanitarian suffering, and that there is no practicable alternative,” he said.

“All our assistance will be carefully calibrated and monitored as well as legal, and will be aimed at saving life, alleviating this human catastrophe and supporting moderate groups.”

In a fresh development this evening, a group of Syrian rebels calling themselves the ‘Martyrs of Yarmouk’ – Yarmouk is the name of a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus although it is not known if the group is linked – said they had seized a convoy of United Nations observers near the Golan Heights. In a YouTube video, a spokesman for the group said that the convoy would be released only when forces loyal to -Assad withdrew from the nearby village of Jamla.

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA powerful collection of reportage on Egypt’s cycle of awakening and relapse
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile App/IOS Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC)

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Mobile App/IOS...

Front End Developer-JavaScript, Angular J.S, HTML, CSS, ASP.NET

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front End Deve...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil