UN: Syrian refugees hit 1 million mark

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“With a million people in flight, millions more displaced internally, and thousands of people continuing to cross the border every day, Syria is spiraling towards full-scale disaster,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said in a statement. “We are doing everything we can to help, but the international humanitarian response capacity is dangerously stretched. This tragedy has to be stopped.”

The Obama administration has made $385 million in humanitarian aid available to victims of the conflict, and last week Secretary of State John Kerry for the first time announced another $60 million in direct food and medical aid to the rebels. Obama is facing calls, however, to do more.

Several former officials – including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta – have pushed the White House to arm the rebels, and the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee – Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) is expected to introduce legislation to do so shortly. The White House however worries about the United States getting dragged into another Middle East conflict and of weapons ending up in the hands of Islamist militants fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.