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Ewan McGregor in tears after visiting Iraq refugee camp

Meeting refugees displaced by the conflicts in Iraq and Syria was "mind-bending", actor Ewan McGregor has said, telling ITV News that he has "never felt more confused and upset" by what he had seen.

In his role as an ambassador for Unicef, he met families at the Debaga camp in northern Iraq to see how the violence in the two countries have affected the lives of children.

Tens of thousands of children in Iraq and Syria have been killed, injured, separated from their parents, forced into work, tortured or recruited into fighting and the situation is becoming increasingly desperate.

Ewan McGregor meets child refugees Credit: Unicef

The threat of the so-called Islamic State group is causing families to leave everything behind and escape to refugee camps.

Speaking to ITV News, the Hollywood actor became emotional as he described families who had lost everything and were now living in camps, but all that mattered to them was that they were still together.

The 45-year-old spoke of one father who had decided to leave behind everything and flee with his family after his sons were tortured.

He said: "The world is facing an unprecedented refugee crisis and we must do more to protect the extraordinary number of children who have been torn from their homes by violent conflict."

McGregor hit out at what he said was the use of refugees for "political gains".

People are not fleeing their homes "because they think they can get money out of our government in Britain, but because there's no other choice".

They're human beings. Like us. Like you and me.

– Ewan McGregor

He also told of stories of people running through sniper fire with children and crossing rivers with babies.

McGregor hit out at the use of refugees for Credit: Unicef

McGregor praised Unicef's "awe inspiring work" and the "amazing people" who carry it out.

He added although the problems in Syria and Iraq are "huge", the charity covers all areas of response, from delivering life-saving food, clean water and vaccines, to providing education and psychological support, to working with governments and ensuring that children in the camps have somewhere to play and be children.

McGregor told of one instance where hundred of children queued up to take turns on a bouncy castle in a camp.

McGregor said he was touched by families' bravery in the camps Credit: Unicef

Unicef UK Executive Director Mike Penrose said ensuring children can be with their family "can provide a small sense of stability and normality in times of huge trauma and upheaval".

Every child, whether they remain within their country, have fled across borders or been forced to undertake dangerous journeys across seas and oceans, deserve this right.

Unicef is working to reunite separated children with their families across the region, and we're calling on the UK Government to do more to make sure unaccompanied children in Europe can be with their families in the UK.

When children are separated from their family they are left unprotected and vulnerable to exploitation, harm and abuse.

We simply cannot let this continue.

– Mike Penrose
Ewan McGregor meets children at Harshamp camp Credit: Unicef

McGregor said one girl told him how her family had slept in a disused, half-constructed shopping mall for over a year.

The community donated food, clothes and supplies to her family and really came together to welcome displaced people.

This act of humanity should be replicated everywhere, especially on our own doorsteps.

It's up to us to tell our friends, our neighbours and our governments that refugees are welcome.

– Ewan McGregor
Ewan McGregor helps to unload supplies from a lorry Credit: Unicef

In September world leaders will meet to discuss the global refugee crisis at two summits in New York.

"It is our human responsibility to help", the actor added.