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Humanitarian Crisis Spilling from Syria

Editor's note: Megan Bradley recently returned from Jordan to examine the situation of Syrian refugees and the effect of the crisis on Syria's neighbors. In this opinion for CNN, Bradley highlights the importance of understanding the humanitarian implications of this crisis beyond just questions of a U.S. military intervention. 

Last month at Zaatari, the second-largest refugee camp in the world, I met an accountant who carried his 6-day-old baby across the Jordanian border from Syria, and a mother who cannot find her 20-year-old son -- and knows all too well what has likely happened to him. I saw parents too frightened to let their children out of their sight, even to go to school.

And while visiting Syrian refugees recovering in a hospital in Amman, Jordan from some of the violence that perhaps foreshadowed the August 21 chemical attacks on Syrian citizens, I spoke with a woman whose daughter died in her arms. These refugees' stories, interspersed with images of white-shrouded children lying dead -- poisoned in the Damascus suburbs -- have stayed fresh in my mind.

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