Angelina Jolie has described her visit to a camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan as “heartbreaking”.
The US actress was surrounded by children as she spoke in a patch of muddy space between hundreds of rows of caravans in the desert camp of Zaatari, less than an hour’s drive from the Syrian border.
During what is her fifth visit to Jordan, Jolie said: “It is heartbreaking to return to Jordan and witness the levels of hardship and trauma among Syrian refugees as this war enters its eighth year.”
Jolie met refugee families and teenage girls in a UN-run community programme.
“I’m very proud. You’re very strong, all of you,” Jolie, a special envoy for the UN refugee agency, told them.
Almost 5.5 million displaced Syrians are hosted by Jordan, Lebanon and other neighbouring countries as the long-running civil war continues.
Jolie praised the hospitality of the host countries and hailed it “an example to the world at a time when solidarity with refugees is in short supply”.
The UN refugee agency received only half the requested funding for the Syrian crisis last year and only 7% so far this year, the actress said.
She added: “Humanitarian aid is not a long-term solution. No one wants to get off aid more than a Syrian family.
“A viable political settlement is the only way to create the conditions for Syrians to be able to return to their homes, to end the human suffering and the strain on host countries.”
Currently Jordan hosts more than 650,000 registered Syrian refugees, according to the UN refugee agency, and more than 78,000 live in Zaatari.