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The conflict in Syria is said to have triggered the largest humanitarian crisis in the world since the World War II (Petersen, 2015). An increase in the need for humanitarian need continues to be experienced in addition to the rising population displacements and children exposure to violence and war while being deprived of basic necessities, protection and education. According to UNHCR (cited in Ostrand, 2015) by 2014, over 3 million Syrians had been registered as refugees in other countries while many others were awaiting registration. Based on this large number of people seeking refuge in other countries, the following paper provides a profound description of the Syrian refugee crisis that has resulted while identifying issues of concern that need to be considered. Further, diplomatic solutions and proposals intended to address the identified concerns will be offered.
The devastating conflict in Syria began in 2011 and involves the government of Bashar al-Assad and other forces (Petersen, 2015; Beltekin, 2016). After its eruption, the conflict spread to other parts of the country causing massive displacement within Syria and across the region. According to Beltekin (2016), it is estimated that 7.6 million Syrian nationalities were internally displaced by the end of 2014 while another 3.7 million had escaped to other countries since the war began. The war in Syria is described as one that is complex, protracted and multi-sided that has always involved extreme brutality. Consequently, much of the country's infrastructure, national wealth and economy have been totally obliterated, and an estimated half a million-people killed (Ostrand, 2015). Moreover, more than 11 million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes with over 4.7 million seeking refuge outside the country (Beltekin, 2016). The conflict in Syria has resulted in enormous straining of the country's neighbors, with Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan bearing the largest burden. Lebanon, a country whose estimated population by the end of 2014 was 4.8 million, registered a total of 1, 146, 405 refugees from Syria (UNHCR cited in Ostrand, 2015). During the same year, Turkey registered the highest number of Syrian refugees, with a Syrian population of 1, 552, 839 and Jordan hosted the least of the Syrian refugees with a population of 622, 865 (ibid). Other than these three countries, Syrian refugees are also seeking protection from countries including Iraq, Egypt, the United States and Europe as well. As a result of the massive numbers of refugees from Syria, the host countries experience problems related to the burden and cost of accommodating such populations.
There are several reasons for such large numbers of people leaving Syria. One of the major reasons is that the war in Syria seems to continue for a longer period (Ostrand, 2015). For this reason, people have continued to flee the country to date hence becoming refugees in other countries. The condition in Syria is said to be worsening day by day making the citizens lose hope of ever returning to their home country. Another reason for Syrians seeking refuge from other countries is the collapsed infrastructure in their country which implies that basic services such as healthcare, school, and clean water may not be available. Also, the fleeing may be attributed to the distress and danger that faces children who are vulnerable to brutality and violence (Petersen, 2015).
Further, there are various concerns that can be identified from the Syrian refugee crisis, which require attention and consideration. A majority of Syrian refugees lives in abject poverty and desperately require help (Beltekin, 2016). As argued by Khallaf (2017), efforts to help these refugees are often under-funded and under-resourced which brings about a lot of struggle among the refugees. The author adds that the burden of providing the Syrian refugees with the assistance they need has been disproportionately distributed among the countries bordering Syria including Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. It is said that about three-quarters of the refugees have fled to the three states (Ostrand, 2015). Therefore, the issue of inadequate resources and underfunding is a major concern in relation to the Syrian refugee crisis. Despite various governments and private organizations making donations and providing resources for aiding the humanitarian situation of the refugees, Khallaf (2017) claims that this has not been sufficient to adequately address the Syrian refugees' needs. As a result, this has been a problematic issue that has often negatively affected the lives of the vulnerable Syrians.
Another major concern to be considered in relation to the Syrian refugee crisis is the rising number of refugees trickling in into other nations due to the continued fights in Syria. Some scholars have argued that the growing number of Syrian refugees poses the threat of refugee influxes which others have linked to being potential channels for terrorists (Khallaf, 2017). Ostrand (2015) claims that the neighboring countries in which Syrian refugees have fled to are almost reaching their limits. Currently, these countries are estimated to have assumed a refugee burden of 95 percent with other countries only offering financial assistance which sometimes is not sufficient. In western nations, the increasing humanitarian concerns are tied to the worry that the massive immigration may result in grave security threats to the host countries (Petersen, 2015). Therefore, the Syrian refugee crisis has also led to growing security concerns and hence mismanaging the refugee crisis may result in equally damaging effects. This calls for the need to have diplomatic solutions or proposals whose intention is to address the listed concerns.
As a solution to the inadequate resources and underfunding concerns, the international community should marshal more financial support for the host countries. This would also help to solve a majority of the humanitarian issues associated with the life of the Syrian refugees. This can be done through various innovative financing mechanisms, for example, through the World Bank's concessional loans. There should also be partnerships between nations, non-profit organizations and even the private sector in providing for Syrian refugees with basic necessities such as education and housing. An example of such partnership is demonstrated by the Swedish government whereby any employer who hires refugees is offered a stipend by the national government (Khallaf, 2017). As suggested by Ostrand (2015), federal governments should also ensure that enough resources are allocated to the cities hosting refugees from Syria. Further, the underfunding concern can be addressed by having the wealthy nations increase the amount of financial assistance they give to Syrian refugees.
To address the refugee influxes concern, there should be the redistribution of the refugees in order to ensure that there is burden-sharing which would significantly benefit the main host countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan by easing the refugee conditions. Burden-sharing may provide a lasting solution for Syrian refugees as they are slowly integrated into the host country's economic system enabling them to provide for their individual needs and take care of their families (Khallaf, 2017). Redistribution of refugees also helps to regulate the flow of refugees into a given country hence ensuring that each host country receives the volume of refugees that matches its capacity in terms of infrastructure and finances. This is in addition to encouraging the concept of shared responsibility among nations. Regarding the security concerns that have risen from the Syrian refugee crisis, proper vetting of the refugees should be done before their entry into the country of refuge.
In conclusion, as demonstrated herein, the Syrian refugee crisis has far-reaching consequences for the country and the neighboring nations. The war in Syria has put countries like Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan under pressure in efforts to take care of the refugees. Additionally, several concerns have been identified in this paper including underfunding that leads to humanitarian issues, refugee influxes as well as the security concerns. However, it has been proved that these concerns can be addressed through increased financial assistance for host countries, refugee redistribution that brings about burden-sharing and proper vetting of refugees to avert terrorist activities.
Beltekin, N. (2016). Turkey's Progress Toward Meeting Refugee Education Needs the Example of Syrian Refugees. Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 16(66), 1-30. doi:10.14689/ejer.2016.66.10
Khallaf, S. (2017). The Syrian Refugee Crisis in the Middle East. University of California Press. doi:10.1525/California/9780520286931.003.0017
Ostrand, N. (2015). The Syrian Refugee Crisis: A Comparison of Responses by Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Journal on Migration and Human Security, 3(3), 255-279. doi:10.14240/jmhs. v3i3.51
Petersen, M. S. (2015). The Syrian Refugee Crisis: A Case Study of Refugee Protection in Lebanon. Kobenhavn.
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