Table of Contents
- Causes of the Syrian Refugee Crisis
- Lack of Basic Human Rights
- Taking Action
The Syrian civil war has had tragic influences on the modern world. Millions of people have had to flee the country and their homes. In 2015 alone the amount of Syrian refugees increased by 10% (ESI). Today there are more than 10 million syrians who are either internally displaced or are refugees abroad (Shahram, Conduit). The Syrian refugee crisis is the largest refugee crisis since world war two. This paper discusses the different aspects of the Syrian refugee crisis such as education, basic human rights, and the causes of the crisis, then it turns and address what organizations are doing to help these people.
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Causes of the Syrian Refugee Crisis
The Syrian civil war is the primary reason that many Syrian people are leaving their country. The violence and terrorism in Syria has literally forced people out of their homes and into refugee camps in different cities or countries around the world. “The Syrian war followed the popular 2011 revolts in Tunisia and Egypt which successfully deposed long-term authoritarian leaders” (Shahram and Conduit). The same revolt began in Syria two months after the fall of the Egyptian regime in 1995. This time the revolt began against the Assad regime which had ruled for 39 years and had set up an authoritarian government (The editors of Encyclopedia Britannica). The first revolt in Rastan was commenced by firecrackers in the village alerting people there was to be a protest. This protest included actions such as tearing down the Assad statue, spray painting the Syrian pre-Assad flag all over walls and other spray painted messages declaring to the regime that Rastan was a free city (Abouzeid). The now on-edge Assad fought back and conducted a siege on Rastan that killed 65,000 people. This siege sent shockwaves around the country and sparked protests all over the nation. The siege of Rastan initiated the Syrian civil war.The siege of Rastan triggered everybody around the country and a war broke out between the rebels of the Assad regime and the army of the Assad regime. However, there is a third party that was included in this war and that was the Islamic State party who felt as if the Islam race had been oppressed by the regime in Syria (What’s Happening in Syria). Because there are three groups fighting in this war Syria has become a very dangerous place as powerful military groups fight for territory and power over the other two groups. This violence is the main reason for the evacuation of more than ten million people from their homes (UNDP).
Lack of Basic Human Rights
The first aspect of the syrian refugee crisis that this paper covers is the lack of food, water, and shelter for the Syrian people. People in Syria leave to countries like those in Europe and places where there is no overshadowing culture of war in search for a better life. They have to leave their home and country because they don’t have things like food, water, and shelter. The civil war is collapsing the housing industry in Syria by destroying structures with bombs and bullets at an increasingly fast rate as the war intensifies (Al-Ahmadi). Lack of food is also becoming a worsening reality in Syria. While the war rages on people in the main cities are starving. Before the war, Aleppo was one of the most promising cities in Syria, today 46,000 people rely on food aid while thousands more starve at home (Knipp).The reason for some of the mass starvation in Syria is that the Syrian army are using starvation and thirst as a war tactic they call it “starvation until submission” (Holmes). The Syrian government has shutdown all of it’s bakeries and cutoff food supplies into major cities such as Aleppo, the only food that is dispersement of food is coming from the rebel forces who are forced to smuggle food in (Luther). There are more than 250,000 people suffering from starvation because of the regime’s besieged areas in Syria (ISW). Making the issue even worse the regime has been destroying people coming in or out of their besieged areas by dropping barrel bombs to safeguard any chances of food smugglers bringing anything in or out (Nelson). On top of controlling the food flow coming in and out of major Syrian cities the Assad regime is targeting food banks, bakeries, and supermarkets to worsen the condition of the already suffering people (UN).
The lack of food is compounded by the need for fresh and clean water. More than 5.5 million people in the Damascus region have been affected by thirst. This happened when the Assad regime destroyed the main water facility Ein el-Fijeh water facility, that lead into the Syrian capital (Hubbard). In Damascus alone more than 200,000 people have died of dehydration (PRI). In rural areas lack of water was already taking its toll on farmers and agriculturists from the drought that lasted from 2006 to 2011 where only 8 inches of rainfall yearly (Stokes). The war has only made the situation worse for these farmers who previously relied on the water provided by facilities to water their crops, now they are left with no agriculture or water to survive with. The water crisis in Damascus is just another effect of the already devastating civil war. The last and the most important cause for the migration of so many refugees is shelter. More than 6.3 million people are deprived of a home and are either living in a IDP camp or are living as homeless people on the streets of the most dangerous place in the world (Mercy Corps). More than 535,000 houses and housing buildings have been destroyed since 2011 leaving more than 1.5 million families without homes (Haydar). After being forced out of homes many families decide to flee the country such as this man’s journey to cross into Greece. An unnamed man was put into a rubber dinghy as he tried to cross the Mediterranean sea. His dinghy was popped and he was forced to float for 45 minutes straight as he hoped for rescuers to come to his aid. He speaks of how desperate he was to leave Syria and the pain he felt when he lost his home. He didn’t want to leave Syria but he had nothing left. The unnamed man would have never have gotten on that boat if it had been his choice but the chances of survival on a dinghy boat were higher than the ones staying in Syria. This man communicates the despair he felt when he was faced with the small boat on shore but said there was no choice involved (Dearden). Unfortunately this is the reality for so many Syrian people today with more than 3 million people having to make the harrowing journey across the Syrian border and leaving their homes that have been turned to rubble.
The second aspect that this paper will be looking at is education in Syria. In Syria twenty-five percent of schools have been damaged, destroyed, or used as shelters for soldiers (Southern Turkey Education Cluster). Before the civil war in Syria, 95% of registered Syrian children were enrolled in school. Since the 2011 civil war began, the percentage of enrollment rates have been dropping at an extremely fast rate. Now less than 50% of Syrian children are enrolled in school (Shahram and Conduit). With the war becoming increasingly dangerous there is high risk that 50% of enrolled students will have dropped even further by 2019 (Education Cluster in Southern Turkey). These statistics point towards a serious problem in regard to unemployment rates in Syria. Trading Economics predicts that by 2020 there will be a 24% unemployment rate (Trading Economics). This is an 8% increase from what the unemployment rate is today in Syria. Leading for many economists to believe that there will be a major economic crisis within Syria before 2025.
With the Syrian refugee crisis being the world's largest humanitarian crisis in history there are many things that relief agencies are already doing. There are hundreds of agencies that are looking to help better the lives of the people who have fled Syria. The UN estimates that the money needed to fix the crisis right now exceeds 4.5 billion dollars however only 1.7 billion dollars have been thrown into trying to relieve these refugees from the stress of malnourishment, starvation, dehydration, and homelessness (UNHCR). This shows that the funding is clearly not being met but many organizations are also working towards helping refugees. With the crisis becoming a more pressing issue awareness is spreading and the amount of funding and donations are getting exponentially higher to groups such as UNHCR and UNICEF. In 2016 UNICEF raised 538 million dollars and in 2017 it raised 670 million dollars (UNICEF 2016 and UNICEF 2017). With the enormous amounts of money that are being pumped into the relief of Syrian refugees there is a clear change being represented in refugee camps with increases of 6% better resettlement rates within the last three years (Refugee Council). The Syrian refugee crisis is too large for any one person to make an impact so the question is what can regular people do to try and help this cause. Many charities say that the main things you can do are volunteer or donate. For the most part charities prefer that volunteer work be done in the home country of the volunteer and field work be left to specialists.
The Syrian refugee crisis is such a substantial issue and although relief agencies are trying to combat it the problem keeps growing faster than we can handle.