The Syrian refugee crisis is an issue that has been addressed on nearly every stage across the world. From history class rooms to Last Week Tonight With John Oliver to the floor of the UN, people have been ruminating on the ramifications of such a massive migration of people out of the Middle East and into Europe.
The crisis began in 2011 when protests against President Bashar al-Assad erupted into full-fledged civil war. Over the course of the now four and half year war, both sides committed heinous war crimes such as rape, murder, and torture. The conflict has resulted in a death toll of almost 250,000.
The United States has long been committed to the removal of President Bashar al-Assad. The Obama administration aided the rebel forces by providing $500 million to programs dedicated to training and arming certain rebel groups. In 2013, the lethal nerve agent Sarin was released over agricultural districts in Damscas, resulting in the deaths of hundreds. After the U.S. threatened to invade, President Bashar al-Assad committed to a complete removal of Syria’s chemical weapons. The situation has been further heightened in resent months by the hostile invasion of the extremist Islamic terrorist organization, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS or ISIL). In September of 2014, the U.S. imposed airstrikes on IS held territories in Syria with the hope of destroying the jihadist group.
The constant violence in the country has resulted in “one of the largest refugee exoduses in recent history,” with 12.2 million Syrian civilians displaced and in need of humanitarian aid (Syria: the Story). Of the current 4.1 million Syrians fleeing their homeland, 1.9 million have found refuge in Turkey, 1.1 million in Lebanon, 629,000 in Jordan, 249,463 in Iraq, and 132,375 in Egypt. However, the refugees are not focused solely in the Middle East.
Almost 201,000 Syrian refugees seek asylum in Europe. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has proposed the implementation of quotas for the number of refugees each European country can receive. She believes that the current quotas are no longer accurate and that neither Greece nor Italy can support the current influx of migrants. She supports instituting fair quotas based on the capabilities of each country. Germany itself expects to receive 800,000 immigrants and can is prepared to accept 500,000 more each year for the next several years.
So far, america has only accepted 1,800 Syrian refugees. In response to criticism over such a low number, President Barack Obama ordered his administration to accept 10,000 over the next fiscal year. Though the U.S. has one of the lowest admissions rate, America has “given the largest share of aid to the Syrian refugee crisis, more than $574 million, or 31% of total aid donated”(Syrian Refugees). Despite all the aid, the fighting shows no sign of stopping. The the world must adapt to weather the storm.
CNN Student News – October 13, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/12/studentnews/sn-content-mon/index.html
Merkel calls for migrant quotas for EU states to combat crisis, http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/08/europe/europe-migrant-crisis/
Syrian refugees: Which countries welcome them, which ones don’t,http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/09/world/welcome-syrian-refugees-countries/index.html
Syria Regional Refugee Response, http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php
Syria: The story of the conflict, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26116868
What you need to know: Crisis in Syria, refugees, and the impact on children, http://www.worldvision.org/news-stories-videos/syria-war-refugee-crisis
Syria: The story of the conflict
What you need to know: Crisis in Syria, refugees, and the impact on children