Challenges faced by refugees

Case study: Syrian refugees in Turkey

Photograph of Syrian refugee camp in Suruc, Turkey

Syrian refugee camp in Suruc, Turkey

The Syrian crisis is an on-going armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba’ath government and those opposing them. In 2016, it was estimated that over 470,000 had died as a result of the civil war.

An estimated 6 million people are Syrian refugees who have sought refuge and protection across Europe from 2011 to the present day.

The number of people emigrating from Syria is high: 2.5m people went to Turkey, 1.1m to Lebanon, 117,658 to Egypt, 635,324 to Jordan and 250,000 to Iraq.This infographic shows the figures in 2016.

The unrest in Syria started in 2011 and it only took 1 month before the first migrants started to arrive in Turkey. Nearly half of these (around 3 million people) have remained in Turkey.

About 30% of the registered refugees live in 22 government-run camps near the Syrian border. Turkey is the home to the highest number of Syrian refugees and has provided more than $8 billion of aid.

Other countries have promised to help Turkey with this but much of the aid promised has not arrived.

Why are the Syrians leaving Syria?

  • Rising death rate due to war and unrest.
  • Little direct aid getting into Syria.
  • Families are concerned about their children.

Why have so many Syrians gone to Turkey?

  • It’s one of the closest countries to Syria.
  • Less risk as the people have similar beliefs (and a similar branch of Islam).
  • Turkey is a useful gateway to other European countries or even to places like Canada.
  • Turkish borders were open to receive the migrants.

Challenges faced by the refugees

  • Conditions in refugee camps are poor.
  • Conflict with the local people.
  • Many refugees live in fear of being sent home as their documentation or status is questioned.
  • No obvious end to the conflict in Syria. Refugees don’t want to return to a civil war.
  • Difficult for refugees to find employment.
  • As estimated 400,000 Syrian refugees are living in Istanbul – this is puts pressure on the local refugee communities to ensure that there is enough food and work to sustain the people.

Challenges faced by thedestination country

As over 3 million Syrians have decided to remain in Turkey, this continues to put some serious pressure on the government resources.

  • Small illegal businesses and smuggling rackets have been started by Syrians.
  • The number of children in the workplace has grown.
  • The amount of crime has increased in places where refugees are located.
  • There have been small but significant changes to local cultures, lifestyle and language.
  • Some poor urban areas are experiencing waves of over-crowding.
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