Syrian Refugee Crisis: What’s Happened?

Syrian woman and children, Aleppo, 2013
Syrian woman with children via A Celebration of Women

The Syrian refugee crisis has finally dissolved into a global exigency. The crisis comes in response to the Syrian civil war, which has been primarily governed by the Free Syrian Army, the Islamic Front, the extremist group ISIS, and the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The non-violent protests began in March 2011 with calls for democratic reforms, which soon rendered military attacks and deaths that had amounted to around 1,000 by May that year. Everything after was a revolution. Amnesty International has reported that

“…the Islamic Staten (IS) has carried out ethnic cleansing on a historical scale in northern Iraq… IS has systematically targeted non-Arab and non-Sunni Muslim communities, killing or abducting hundreds, possibly thousands, and forcing more than 830,000 others to flee the areas it has captured since 10 June 2014.”

Lebanon, Turkey Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt are the main host countries to register Syrian refugees. According to the UNHCR, as of September 23, 2013 there has been an estimated 2.1 million Syrian refugees and 1.95 million registered Syrian refugees, which leaves 150,000 to await registration. As of April 2015, there are 3.9 million Syrian refugees and 7.6 million Syrians internally displaced. Internally displaced people are ones who have fled their home but have not crossed international borders and so are still at risk, since they remain in their homeland. There are more than 12 million Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance. Furthermore, Egypt has hosted 236,000 refugees, Iraq has hosted 271,000 refugees, Jordan has hosted 654,000 refugees, and Turkey has hosted 1.5 million refugees. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates have come under scrutiny since they have yet to offer settlement to any of the refugees, which was reported by Amnesty International. Saudi Arabia is one of the countries including Middle Eastern, African, European, and Asian countries to refuse entrance without a visa. It has been reported by Arabian Business that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad increased the renewal and extension fee for passports by 100% from $200 to $400. Although Saudi Arabia has more than half a million migrant workers that come mainly from Africa, the process of being permitted is an extensive one and there have been many cases in which the workers are sexually exploited. Moreover, they are exposed to deplorable working conditions and are susceptible to xenophobic attacks. In light of this information, it should also be noted that Saudi Arabia is in the top 5 countries that international migrants have resided within. As of 2013, the United Nations reported that the

“…largest number of international migrants resided in the United States of America [46 million]… The Russian Federation hosted the second largest number of migrants worldwide (11 million), followed by Germany (10 million), Saudi Arabia (9 million), and the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom (8 million each.)”

Infographic depicting funding and placement via OCHA


Elijah Martinez is a MasterChef and Law and Order:SVU aficionado. Elijah is a full-time student and a polyglot, speaking and writing English, Spanish, and Latin. French and Korean are of interest, the former is a current study, while the latter is a deferred study.