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Refugees Feel Let Down by Foreign Caution for Military Action in Syria

September 2, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST
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JEFFREY BROWN: Amid the focus on possible U.S. military action, there was word today that the Syrian refugee problem has become even more desperate. The United Nations reported some seven million Syrians have fled to other countries or been displaced within their own borders. Many are now appealing for outside military action.

We have a report from Martin Geissler of Independent Television News.

MARTIN GEISSLER: Jordan’s biggest refugee camp gets busier by the day, the streets here lined with people who have lost everything, forced to flee their homes and their country in a bloody civil war.

They saw foreign intervention as their only hope. Now they will tell you the whole world has let them down.

“If no one stops Assad, he will kill five million,” says Ahmed. He can’t understand why the West is backing away.

MAN (through interpreter): Assad has used chemicals 14 times at least. What is the matter with the world? Are they sleeping? Are they drunk? Are they on drugs?

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MARTIN GEISSLER: Almost 150,000 Syrian refugees now live in Zaatari camp. None of them want to be here, but there’s a depressing sense of permanence about the place.

This is now the second biggest refugee camp on Earth. What’s striking about this swarming, swelling mass of people is the fact that across the border in Syria almost the same number of lives have been lost in a conflict that is just two years old.

With the airstrikes now delayed, at least, these people say the regime they hate will be emboldened.

“If Obama doesn’t strike Assad, he will look weak,” says this man. “The world will think it is acceptable to use chemical weapons.”

“If you won’t send missiles, just send us guns,” he says. “We will go and fight Assad.”

The people here keep telling you the world is playing a game with Syrian blood. They all know more of that will be spilt before any of them can go home.