More than 6.7 million Syrians have been forced to flee their country since 2011 and another 6.1 million have been driven from their homes but remain trapped inside the country. The vast majority of Syrian refugees have found safety in neighboring countries like Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon – Turkey alone hosts more than 3.5 million Syrians.
When did the Syrian refugee crisis begin?
The Syrian refugee crisis is the result of a March 2011 violent government crackdown on public demonstrations in support of a group of teenagers who were arrested for anti-government graffiti in the southern town of Daraa. As violence increased, families began to flee. Within two months, the first refugee camps opened in Turkey – by March 2013, more than 1 million people had fled Syria. Today, 12 million Syrians are displaced from their homes and more than a million Syrian children have been born in exile.
What is happening in Syria – specifically in Idlib – right now?
The recent outbreak violence in Idlib, northwest Syria, is forcing families to flee their homes at an alarming rate. Approximately 900,000 people have been uprooted from their homes since December 2019, with an increase in mid-February of more than 100,000 people in less than a week. The majority – about 80 percent – of those who are fleeing Idlib and the surrounding areas are women and children. Resources are scarce, camps and settlements are becoming overcrowded and many are being forced to sleep outside in freezing temperatures.
Where do Syrian refugees live? Do all Syrian refugees live in refugee camps?
93.7 percent of the 6.7 million Syrian refugees who have fled to neighboring countries live in urban settings, not refugee camps. The vast majority of Syrian refugees live in host communities in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. However, living outside of refugee camps does not necessarily mean success or stability for Syrian refugees. Over 60 percent of Syrian refugees live in poverty, while unemployment and uneven access to education and other basic services persist.
What are Syrians greatest needs?
With two major outbreaks of violence in Syria in the last six months – renewed conflict in northeast Syria in October 2019 that forced hundreds of thousands of Syrians to flee to Iraq and the current humanitarian situation in Idlib, northwest Syria – the greatest need for Syrian refugees today is protection. Syrians need a safe place to take shelter. Only after this immediate need is met can we then address the other urgent needs of Syrian children and families, like water, food, medical care and psychosocial support to deal with the horrors many have witnessed.
What is the UN Refugee Agency doing for displaced Syrians?
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has been on the ground since the start of the conflict – assisting the millions who have fled to other countries or been displaced inside Syria. Despite difficult and often dangerous conditions, UNHCR continues to work tirelessly to provide life-saving supplies, safe shelter, clean water, hot meals, medical care and other assistance to families who have been forced to flee their homes. In recent months, UNHCR has also delivered warm clothes, thermal blankets, stoves and other winter essentials to protect Syrian refugees as temperatures drop during the winter.
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