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The human cost of sanctuary 6 octobre 2012

Posted by Acturca in Middle East / Moyen Orient, Turkey / Turquie.
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The World Today (Chatham House) Vol. 68, No. 8/9 (Oct-Nov 2012) p. 34-37

Christopher Phillips *

Syria’s refugee crisis is getting worse – for those who flee and for those who take them in. Christopher Phillips reports

As Syria’s uprising descends into a increasingly bloody civil war, the number of refugees fleeing the fighting has rocketed. In August alone 100,000 Syrians headed for the relative safety of neighbouring states, almost doubling the number seeking refuge since the unrest began to 235,000, according to the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR. Unregistered refugees mean the numbers are far higher.

Though they might have escaped the civil war, when they cross the border refugees face a host of new challenges. Syria’s Arab neighbours – Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq – are poorly equipped to handle the crisis and most refugees find themselves in hastily put together camps, or with families struggling to support themselves. Even Turkey, wealthier and better equipped than most, has struggled. Resources, shelter and work are all scarce for the refugees, and the international community has been slow to respond.

Yet the rapidly expanding crisis poses problems not only for refugees. The host states themselves are wary of the social, economic and political pressures their new guests have brought. Here we look at the effects on Jordan and Turkey.

* Christopher Phillips is lecturer in the international relations of the Middle East at Queen Mary, University of London, and an associate fellow at Chatham House. His book, Everyday Arab Identity: The Daily Reproduction of the Arab World, is available from Routledge

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