Syrian Refugee Crisis 6 years of war and conflict have left millions with nothing

Of the 4.8 million registered Syrian refugees, half are children.

“The children of Syria have experienced more hardship, devastation, and violence than any child should have to in a thousand lifetimes,” says Dr. Christine Latif, World Vision’s response manager.

Refugee crisis: What you need to know

13.5 million people in Syria need humanitarian assistance due to a violent civil war that began in 2011.

4.8 million Syrians are refugees, and 6.1 million are displaced within Syria; half of those affected are children. Children affected by the Syrian conflict are at risk of becoming ill, malnourished, abused, or exploited. Millions have been forced to quit school.

Most Syrian refugees remain in the Middle East, in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt; only 11% percent of the refugees have fled to Europe.

Peace negotiations continue despite a fraying ceasefire.

Syrian refugee camp, Kobane

Syria’s civil war has created the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Half the country’s pre-war population — more than 11 million people — have been killed or forced to flee their homes.

Families are struggling to survive inside Syria, or make a new home in neighboring countries. Others are risking their lives on the way to Europe, hoping to find acceptance and opportunity. And harsh winters and hot summers make life as a refugee even more difficult. At times, the effects of the conflict can seem overwhelming.

But one fact is simple: millions of Syrians need our help. According to the U.N., $4.5 billion was required to meet the urgent needs of the most vulnerable Syrians in 2016 — but only $2.9 billion was received.

You can help. The more you know about the crisis, the more we can do together to help those in need. The lifesaving work we do, empowering people to survive through crisis and build better lives, is only possible with your knowledge and support.

Attempts to reach besieged communities, such as the Syrian town of Kobane, are being hampered by government forces who are apparently not abiding by the ceasefire.

Where are they fleeing to?

Many Syrian refugees are living in Jordan and Lebanon, where Mercy Corps has been addressing their needs since 2012. In the region’s two smallest countries, weak infrastructure and limited resources are nearing a breaking point under the strain.

In August 2013, more Syrians escaped into northern Iraq at a newly-opened border crossing. Now they are trapped by that country's own internal conflict, and Iraq is struggling to meet the needs of Syrian refugees on top of more than 1 million internally displaced Iraqis — efforts that we are working to support.

An increasing number of Syrian refugees are fleeing across the border into Turkey, overwhelming urban host communities and creating new cultural tensions.

Educational facilities are limited, with many parents in financial difficulty resorting to marrying off their young teenage girls and sending their children to work instead of school.

Limited access to education:

Syrian children in Jordan have access to education within the two main formal refugee camps, but only a small number attend because their parents need them to work to support their families.

The situation is the same in Turkey and Lebanon – increased demands on public services have fractured and overwhelmed systems for refugees and locals alike. Most refugee households are left with no choice but to use their children to support their families, limiting their chances of obtaining an education.

Stuck in the middle: children are one of the worse affected groups in the Syrian crisis.

Accessing education is not the only issue. The quality of education has declined as a result of overcrowded classrooms (there are on average 120 children to each teacher in Zaa’tari camp in Jordan). Not only are Syria’s neighbours dealing with curriculum complexities and cultural barriers, they have had to absorb the influx of refugees into already underfunded education systems.

With only 2% of international humanitarian aid allocated to education, it is hard to see how Syrian refugee children will receive an education.

Syria needs its children to build a better future but education is more than just economics – it is about aspiration, hopes and dreams. After the trauma they have gone through Syrian children deserve to dream of new beginnings.

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