Saturday, June 20, 2015

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By Tutku Senen

MARDIN, Turkey

Hollywood star and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie has arrived in Turkey's southeastern province of Mardin to visit Syrian refugees.
The Oscar-winning American actress and director arrived Friday night in Turkey on a private plane to visit Syrian and Iraqi refugees, who fled clashes in their countries, in temporary protection centers in the Midyat district of Mardin.
Jolie is expected to participate in a program, which will be held for World Refugee Day with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres, who is also in Turkey.
On Saturday, Guterres, who is on the fourth of a five-day visit, will also visit the temporary protection centers in Turkey's southeastern provinces of Mardin, Sanliurfa and Gaziantep, where Syrian refugees have been staying as well.
Jolie had visited Turkey in 2012. She met Syrian refugees, accompanied by Guterres in the southeastern provinces of Gaziantep and Kilis.  She had praised Turkey's efforts in hosting the Syrian people .
In 2011, Angelina Jolie traveled to Turkey's southern province of Hatay - 20 kilometers from the Syrian border - to meet with refugees who had fled Syria. Accompanied by UNHCR staff and Turkish government officials, she visited the Altinozu camp where some 1,700 Syrians had found shelter.
"The people in this camp have fled in fear for their lives, and many told me they were distraught about the safety of loved ones still in Syria," Jolie said.
At the time, there were almost 10,000 people living in four camps managed by Turkey and the Turkish Red Crescent.
Over the past two weeks only, a total of 23,349 Syrian refugees fleeing clashes in Syria have entered Turkey, the spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
Syrian refugees fled clashes in the city of Tal Abyad, where there has been fierce fighting between Daesh and Syrian-Kurdish forces.
Turkey shares a 900-kilometer border with Syria and has sheltered more than 1.7 million Syrians, according to the UN.
According to government figures, Turkey has spent more than $6 billion so far for refugees while the international community's help has amounted to $300 million.

By Mary Green
06/19/2015 AT 09:45 PM EDT

It's a special mother-daughter trip for Angelina Jolie Pitt and 9-year-old Shiloh. The mom of six brought her daughter to Lebanon on Friday to spend time with a 12-year-old Syrian girl named Hala, whom Angelina met a year ago during a trip for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

"Shiloh is very aware that I hold refugee families in high regard and has been asking to come on missions and meet them for many years," Jolie Pitt tells PEOPLE. "She had heard about Hala since my last visit to Lebanon, and has been wanting to meet her and her brothers and sisters."

She continues, "It was wonderful that they were able to meet, play together, and make friends. So many refugees are children. I've often heard them say that the most painful thing is not that they have lost their homes – it is that they have lost their friends."

BEIRUT: Hollywood actress and human rights campaigner Angelina Jolie made a brief visit to the Bekaa Valley in east Lebanon Friday to introduce her 9-year-old daughter to a Syrian refugee child.
A report by People Magazine said the one-day trip was for her daughter, Shiloh, to meet a 12-year-old Syrian refugee girl Jolie met during her last humanitarian trip to Lebanon in 2014.
"Shiloh is very aware that I hold refugee families in high regard and has been asking to come on missions and meet them for many years," Jolie told the magazine. "She had heard about Hala since my last visit to Lebanon, and has been wanting to meet her and her brothers and sisters."
The actress, who is a Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, traveled after the visit to attend an Iftar meal in a Syrian refugee camp in Turkey.
"It was humbling and emotional to see Hala and her siblings again, and realize that their situation only becomes harder as time goes on, and aid for refugees is stretched beyond all limits," Jolie said. "Their memories of Syria are fading. They have stopped counting the days in displacement. Nothing is certain and they feel abandoned."
The Iftar, which will take place in a refugee camp in the southern Turkish province of Mardin, will also be attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres, according to the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah.
Turkey has become the biggest host for Syrian refugees with an estimated 1.8 million people fleeing their war-town country to their northern neighbor since 2011.
Lebanon, with one-fifteenth Turkey’s population, comes second with an estimated 1.5 million refugees, of whom 1.17 million are registered with UNHCR. Lebanon has the highest per capita concentration of refugees of any country in recent history.
Jolie, 38, has visited a number of Middle Eastern countries over the last years as part of her humanitarian work. She made a three-day visit to Lebanon in February last year to highlight the plight of Syrian children.
Last year’s visit to Lebanon was Jolie’s third on behalf of the U.N. Her previous visit was in September 2012.

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