Syria's refugee exodus
- 29 May 2014
- From the section Middle East
Almost three million people have fled across Syria's borders to escape the bloody civil war that has engulfed the country. The daily flow of men, women and children has become one of the largest forced migrations since World War Two.
UN figures tracking registered refugees show the human tide began in earnest in early 2012, as widespread protests gave way to armed conflict, and reached a peak early last year amid claims the government had used chemical weapons.
Ahead of the country's presidential elections on 3 June, the ongoing violence continues to force people to flood across the country's borders.
Notes on the data: The data above reflects the date when Syrians registered as refugees (sometimes many days or weeks after fleeing) up to the end of April, according to figures collected by the UN's refugee agency, the UNHCR. Figures are regularly reviewed, meaning some months may see a dip in numbers. Figures reflect registrations and not every person who has fled Syria. The true figures are estimated to be much higher.
Impact on regions
Perhaps unsurprisingly, data from the UN also shows the largest exodus to four of the main destination countries has been from provinces that have seen the greatest conflict.
Deraa - the starting point of the uprising - Homs and Aleppo have seen most people flee.
The figures below show the regional breakdown for people leaving for Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. A breakdown by region of origin for other destinations is not available.
Notes on the data: The UNHCR tracks the origin of Syrian refugees registered to receive assistance in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. Comparable data is not available for North Africa or Turkey. In Turkey, information is collected separately by the Turkish government. Figures reflect registrations up to the end of April 2014 and not every person who has fled Syria.
The ethnicity factor
The refugee registration data also suggests that while the largest departures have come from regions with strong anti-government movements, fewer Syrians have left provinces that are home to ethnic groups regarded as government supporters.
However, the figures do not cover departures to North Africa or Turkey, the nearest countries to some of those areas, which may explain some of the shortfall.
Written, designed and developed by Lucy Rodgers, Gerry Fletcher, Steven Connor and Tom Maslen