Hollywood star and UN refugee agency envoy Angelina Jolie met orphaned Syrian refugee children in Lebanon and called for an end to the war across the border, the UNHCR said Monday.
Syria’s nearly three-year war reportedly killed more than 140,00 Syrians and forced millions to flee, most of them to neighbouring countries like Lebanon.
Jolie said meeting with orphaned Syrian children in the eastern Bekaa Valley was a “heart-rending experience” and thanked Lebanon for assisting Syrian refugees, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said in statement.
“They have lost their families and their childhood has been hijacked by war. They are so young, yet they are bearing the burdens of their reality as if they are adults,” it quoted Jolie as saying.
Lebanon hosts nearly one million Syrians, most of them women and children.
Jolie also welcomed a UN Security Council aid resolution adopted on Saturday as “a long overdue step in the right direction for the hundreds of thousands of innocent Syrian men, women and children trapped in hard to reach areas across Syria.”
She voiced hope that the resolution would be “the start of a new phase in ending the conflict.”
The UNHCR goodwill ambassador also urged the international community to provide funds to help Lebanon cope with the refugee crisis which has exacerbated its own limited resources.
“The generosity and solidarity shown by Lebanon and Lebanese to its neighbour serves as an example to the world for which we should all be grateful. We all need to help them bear this burden”, said Jolie.
This was Jolie’s third visit to Lebanon on behalf of UNHCR.