Turmoil in Syria: Part One

Posted by on Sep 25, 2015 in ComLead, Organizational Leadership

Our world is currently in the middle of the largest refugee migration since WWII.  Since 2011, civil war in Syria has resulted in 250,000 deaths and more than half of their 22 million population displaced.Syrian war

The war started back in March of 2011 after a series of anti-government protests.  The number of President Bashar al-Assad opposers continued to grow and violence ensued. By 2013, 90,000 people had been killed.  By 2014 the number had risen to 191,000 now it is up to 250,000. The involvement of the Islamic State (ISIS) has added another factor as well, instilling a new fear for those who already live in terror every day.

Many surrounding countries have stepped up and taken on the fleeing refugees, Germany, Austria, and Iceland just to name a few.  Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon have seen the highest volume of refugees, hosting over 3 million people between the three countries alone.  Looking at that number and the size of those countries it is hard to understand why the US refugee acceptance number is so low.

A New York Times article stated that in the past four years the United States has taken in only 1,500 Syrian refugees. A surprising number for a country the size of ours and with a history of taking in several refugees dating back to 1975.  Looking at the current situation and the number of accepted refugees in the US, New York Times writer David Milibrand points out that there is a clear mismatch between response and need.

Over the past 4 years the US has contributed more than $4 billion in humanitarian aid to the crisis and Obama stated that the US would accept 10,000 more Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year (beginning in October).  However, given the size of the crisis and the amount of refugees being taken in by other countries, Obama is under pressure to do even more.

Several Human Rights Organizations are insulted by this number (10,000) and are requesting it be increased to 100,000.   Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, stated that the lack of refugees we are accepting into the US “is an injustice and an insult to the enormity of the situation.” And in my opinion, he is right.

There are many factors to be considered when allowing refugees into your country.  But there are several countries, much smaller than ours that have not had a choice.  Greece, who is already struggling economically, now has refugees coming in who also need housing, and jobs.  The United states has the capability to accept so many more refugees than they are currently allowing and although continuing humanitarian aid contributions is helpful, it does not make up for our low number of refugee acceptance.


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