2 Million Syrians Are Now Refugees And More Are 'On The Way' : The Two-WayAbout one-quarter of all Syrians have been forced to flee their homes, many to neighboring nations. New data on the number of refugees come as Congress begins debating the president's request for authorization to take military action in response to the Assad regime's alleged use of chemical weapons.
Syrian-Kurdish children sit on a bed at the Quru Gusik refugee camp in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on Aug. 22. Faced with brutal violence and soaring prices, thousands of Syrian Kurds have poured into Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region. UNICEF has reported that over one million Syrian children live as refugees in other countries.
Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images
Syrian refugee children attend a class in Chekka, Lebanon on July 29. An estimated one million Syrians, including refugees, laborers and their families, currently live in Lebanon, twice the number that were in the country in April.
Children play at a refugee camp in Terbol, Lebanon in July 31. At a camp in Terbol, refugees beseech visiting aid workers to improve sanitation and other services at the site. Formerly a settlement for migrant workers on privately owned land, the site's unplanned growth in recent months has strained already limited resources.
A girl carries a baby as she walks past a tent at an improvised camp in Kfar Zabad, Lebanon on July 31. About 60 tents made of wooden planks and worn fabric are packed onto a plot of cracked land turned to mud by streams of waste water.
A Syrian family walks past a blast site in the town of Reyhanli, Turkey near the Syrian border on May 12. Twin car bombs killed 43 people and wounded many more in a Turkish town near the Syrian border and the government said it suspected Syrian involvement. The bombing increased fears that Syria's civil war was dragging in neighboring countries.
A woman carries her child to escape from the burnt tents at Zattari Syrian refugee camp near Mafraq, Syria, on March 8. A heavy fire broke out and consumed a large number of tents. UNICEF reports that more than two million Syrian children are internally displaced refugees within Syria.
Mohammad Abu Ghosh/Xinhua/Landov
Girls carry over their heads buckets of water as they walk at Atmeh refugee camp, in the northern Syrian province of Idlib on Feb. 19. This rebel-controlled camp only yards from the border with Turkey houses some 16,000 people displaced by the civil war.
A Syrian girl looks through the window of a bus where she has lived with her family for the past eight months at a refugee camp in Bab al-Salam, Syria near the Turkish border, on Feb. 28.
Bruno Gallardo/AFP/Getty Images
A refugee camp is set up near the Turkish border in Azaz, Syria on Dec. 9, 2012.
"Taken together, these numbers — amounting to more than 6 million people — mean that more Syrians are now forcibly displaced than people from any other country," the UNHCR adds. More are "on the way," the agency warns.
According to the CIA World Factbook, Syria's population stood at 22.5 million as of July 2013. So, slightly more than one-quarter of all Syrians have been driven from their homes by the fighting — so far.
The U.N. believes an additional 100,000 Syrians, most of them civilians, have been killed since protests against the regime of President Bashar Assad began in March 2011 and civil war followed.
The new U.N. report comes as U.S. lawmakers start returning to Washington, D.C., for the debate about whether to take military action against the Assad regime because of its alleged use of chemical weapons last month. On Saturday, President Obama said that while he believes he has the authority to strike Syria, he would seek congressional authorization.
First up on the congressional agenda are hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A "top secret/closed" session is set for 9 a.m. ET Tuesday. Later, at 2:30 p.m. ET., the committee plans to hold an open hearing. Set to testify: Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.
As for the prospects of getting Congressional approval of military action, Politico writes that "the Democrat-controlled Senate likely offers a far easier path to passage for Obama on the Syria resolution than the GOP-run House, where dozens of members on both sides of the aisle have either come out in opposition to Obama's call for military strikes against Syria or look like they could so."