By Livia Durdia
Nine million people have been forced to leave their homes due to Syria’s ongoing civil war. Three million have escaped abroad. Another six and a half million are internally displaced within Syria.
Those who have left the country have mostly gone to either neighboring Lebanon or Turkey. In both countries however, they are met with resistance. 1.2 million have gone to Lebanon, where they are met with boundless racism and discrimination. At times, has included racially motivated attacks, which are mostly committed against lower middle class and working class refugees.
This can be explained by the fact that 300,000 Syrians (before the uprising began) worked, as migrant workers, in Lebanon. Thus Lebanese people began to view Syrians as mostly unskilled laborers—the poorest Syrians were most visible and the ones with whom the Lebanese were interacting with on a regular basis. The influx of Syrian refugees only helped to solidify these bigoted ideas.
Life in the refugee camps is objectively terrible. Studies have shown that at least 41 percent of the children of the refugee camps have tried to commit suicide. Not only are people left without basic amenities such as electricity and running water (if they are able to even make it to the camps at all) but also the camps are lacking in much needed healthcare, and especially, psychological care for Syrians and other refugees. The governments of the countries that the refugees are fleeing to (namely Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon) usually do not have the infrastructure capable to permanently form communities for the refugees. 130,000 refugees escaped to Turkey in just this past week.
Air strikes against Isis in the region have only exacerbated the refugee situation. The U.S. and other nations have formed a coalition in which they are using airstrikes to try to destroy the terrorist organization known as Islamic State, or ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).
When Syrians were interviewed many criticized the use of these weapons against their people and in their country because they believed that airstrikes would only worsen the refugee crisis and cause more people to leave. Others still believed that airstrikes would be ineffective as innocent civilians would take most of the fire while the Assad regime stays safe.
An anonymous coffee seller, interviewed by the Guardian, made the following statement: “I fled the brutality of Isis. I came to Turkey because of them. That the Americans are bombing them now is like a bad joke. So have they thought of helping us now? What are they playing at? Where have they been for the past three years while our people were dying? And these Arab countries helping them do it? They are all dogs.”
One should also keep in mind that although the conflict caused 2.5 million refugees last year, the U.S., leading this coalition, only accepted 36 of them into its borders.
Presently there are 114,466 fatalities. Anywhere from 9,000 to 17,000 were children. At least 3873 schools have been destroyed. Bashar al-Assad is still in power.