BEIRUT — The U.N.’s top refugee official says the damage to the Syrian city of Aleppo is “much bigger” than what he had thought.
Filippo Grandi of the UNHCR expressed shock at the level of destruction and how much “everything has been ruined.”
He spoke after touring Aleppo on Wednesday. UNHCR is the first U.N. agency allowed to visit the city since Syrian government forces pushed out rebel fighters from Aleppo’s eastern districts in a punishing offensive a month ago.
Grandi says: “You drive for miles and miles — you see destroyed civilian houses, destroyed schools, destroyed hospitals.”
His also decried U.S. President Donald Trump’s ban on refugees and visa holders from Syria and six other Muslim-majority countries.
Grandi asks how can Trump “turn them back” and “not consider giving them protection?”
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says 65 million people are displaced worldwide by conflict and persecution — the highest number since World War II.
The order “makes the job of the United Nations, and UNHCR in particular, very, very difficult,” said Michael Williams, a distinguished fellow at the Chatham House think tank in London and a former U.N. undersecretary-general.
The Associated Press wrote this report.
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