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Jolie says Syria crisis 'worst', calls for more aid

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Angelina Jolie (centre) meets refugees at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan near the Syria border last December. Jolie has urged the international community to boost aid to Syrian refugees hit by what she called "the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century," a UNHCR statement said Wednesday.UNHCR/AFP/File

Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie urged the international community to boost aid to Syrian refugees hit by what she called "the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century," a UNHCR statement said Wednesday.

Jolie, who is UNHCR special envoy for refugee affairs, visited the Jordan-Syria border overnight accompanied by head of UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.

During their tour the two met Syrian refugees and heard how they had escaped their war-ravaged homes for Jordan.

"By the end of this year half of Syria's population - 10 million people - are expected to be displaced and in desperate need," the Hollywood star was quoted as saying in the UNHCR statement.

"The worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century is unfolding in the Middle East today," Jolie said, adding that the "the international response to this crisis falls short of the vast scale of this human tragedy".

"Much more humanitarian aid is needed, and above all, a political settlement to this conflict must be found," she said ahead of Thursday's world refugee day.

Jolie said her visit was intended "to show support for Syria's refugees, to call on the world to address their plight, and to better understand needs in Jordan and other countries in the region most directly affected by this devastating conflict".

Jordan says it is home to 540,000 Syrian refugees, 150,000 of whom are housed in the Zaatari camp in the kingdom's north, near the border with Syria.

More than 1.6 million Syrian refugees have sought refuge in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey since the beginning of an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011, the UN says.

It says the fighting in Syria has killed more than 93,000 people so far.