The Plight of Syrian Refugees and Attempts to Aid them

Syrian army fighters

Syrian army fighters

With refugees pouring in by the thousands, Syria’s civil war is officially considered the worst humanitarian disaster of all time. So far, the conflict has resulted in 11 million displaced civilians who are currently seeking asylum in neighboring and hesitant countries. Over 3 million have fled to Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and even Iraq while approximately 6 million are wandering the war torn country.  However, there are still 33k Syrians who have yet to be re-settled by ‘concerned’ parties.

But first, a little bit about what set the spark to this war. The conflict dates back to March, 2011 and the Arab Spring. The protests took a turn for the worst when the government decided to fight back resulting in full out civil war. By midyear, frustrated civilians created the radical Free Syrian Army and convinced others to join their fight against the regime. Add conflicts between Muslim and secular fighters and the war quickly grew complex.

Aftermath of a missile attack in Syria

Aftermath of a missile attack in Syria

According to the UN, more than 7.5 million people have been displaced by the war and those who are still alive are deprived of basic necessities. Needless to say, this is a severe human rights violation, but very few countries besides neighboring ones are aiding them.

Most refugees are living in Lebanon and Jordan under the care of the Mercy Corps, which has been in the region since 2012. Many Syrians escaped to Iraq as well, but the country is facing challenges trying to accommodate them along with displaced Iraqis.  It is clear that there is little hope for those who don’t have family across the border they can live with.

Those who fail to find asylum on land are trying to reach Europe through the Mediterranean Sea. Several have lost their lives trying to navigate their way from Turkey to Greece in the choppy waters and those who do make it, still face challenges trying to survive. Those who had already fled the war torn country with plans on returning in the future have largely given up hope. The despotic President Bashar al-Assad gives no signs that he is willing to relinquish his control over government.

Most Syrian refugees are trying to eke out a living in the lands they now call home. They have planted vegetable gardens and trees that will not bear fruit for years to come in houses made from scrap metal and corrugated steel.

However, even though they might seem to have settled, most have shown signs that they will jump at the chance of returning to the place of their birth if given the opportunity and if the corrupt leadership is surmounted with a democratic one. The rest who don’t share this sentiment are content to live the rest of their days in lands are not be their own. However, these allow them the dignity they sorely needed to replace the tattered one they left back in Syria.



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