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UN Says Number Of Global Displaced Up To 65.6 Million Last Year

An internally displaced Syrian girl who fled Raqqa city sits inside a camp in Ain Issa. (file photo)

The number of people displaced from their homes across the world reached 65.6 million last year, with the escalating conflict in South Sudan accounting for the rise, the United Nations refugee agency said June 19.

The total number of displaced people worldwide, a figure that includes refugees, asylum-seekers and people uprooted inside their own countries, was about 300,000 higher at the end of 2016 than at the end of 2015, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said. That was a smaller increase than in the four previous years.

"Although these figures represent small shifts compared to the previous year ... the relatively stable figures mask a very unstable situation," agency chief Filippo Grandi said.

Some 10.3 million people were newly displaced in 2016, with two-thirds fleeing within their own countries, according to an annual report by the UN agency.

Syria's six-year civil war remained the largest single source of displacement, with 12 million people being displaced -- around two-thirds of the population.

They were followed by some 7.7 million Colombians, 4.7 million Afghans, 4.2 million Iraqis and 3.3 million South Sudanese.

Syria is the only country in which a majority of the population is forcibly displaced. South Sudan, with a little over a quarter, has the next-biggest proportion, the agency said.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa