With the war in Syria completing fourth year, Harun Yahya in this opinion piece expresses his hope that the war will end soon, and the entire region will attain peace and there will be an amazing civilization built on good morality, compassion and love for everyone including Muslims, Christians, Jews and all others.
Syrian refugees in the fourth year of the crisis
The Syrian civil war that began in March 2011 is now in its fourth year. During the crisis, more than 190,000 people have lost their lives. More than 11 million have had to leave the homes and lands they have spent their lives in; of these, some 7.6 million are living in exile inside Syria, while 4 million have had to flee abroad to save the lives of themselves and their families.
The lives of these people, which were perhaps not so very different to those of the people reading these lines five years ago, have been completely ruined by the tragedy that has struck them. Those who have managed to flee the horror are having to start all over again.
The Climate of Suffering and Uncertainty That Has Lasted Four Years
Millions of Syrians living in exile for four years are struggling to survive another freezing winter in hunger and poverty. These wretched people are only able to survive with aid from the U.N. and humanitarian organizations.
Under the increasingly harsh conditions of winter, the refugees are facing major difficulties in terms of housing, as well as hunger. Many refugees, the majority of them children and babies, are losing their lives under the harsh winter conditions for lack of food, fuel and clothing.
Today, some 95% of Syrian refugees, meaning 3.8 million people, are trying to survive in five neighboring or regional countries – Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. The U.N. High Commission for Refugees has announced that 380,000 people in these countries need to be resettled.
The Disgraceful Behavior of the EU, the Advocate of Human Rights, over Taking in Syrian Refugees
The number of Syrians admitted by countries other than the five listed above is very low, less than 2% of the total refugees. The number of Syrian refugees admitted by countries of the EU is a terrible one – a mere 5,000.
In the face of this humanitarian disgrace, some 30 leading humanitarian aid organizations issued a joint statement last December, demanding that rich Western countries admit at least 5% of the Syrian refugees, or some 160,000 people, by the end of 2015. Germany, which leads the way in terms of resettlement, has promised to accept 28,500 refugees through the humanitarian application of individual support programs.
Of the $3.74 million requested in the scope of a U.N.’s call to regional aid for refugees, only 53% had arrived by November 18th , 2014.
International Interest in the Syrian Crisis Is Completely Inadequate
Today, 10.8 million people in Syria and in exile need emergency humanitarian aid. However, international support and sensitivity to the Syrian crisis is quite inadequate. The contribution made by wealthy countries to the suffering people here is negligible at best; only 79,180 promises of resettlement have come from countries with a high level of prosperity, just one-fifth of the number needed.
Amnesty International has started a campaign under the heading #OpenToSyria to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis in the region. The campaign is intended to put pressure on prosperous countries to admit more Syrian refugees through resettlement and other programs by raising world public opinion.
Within the scope of this campaign, a new report has been published concerning the struggle to survive of Syrian refugees who have fled the conflict in the country and are living in neighboring countries. The report is titled “Hardship, Hope and Resettlement: Refugees from Syria Tell Their Stories.”
The report describes the lives of eight unfortunate families in order to emphasize the humanitarian dimension of the crisis. The report is regarded as a positive move in terms of drawing public attention to the humanitarian dimension of the Syrian crisis.
Sherif Elsayed-Ali, head of Refugee and Migrant Rights at Amnesty International, said, “This report tells the stories of the real people behind the numbers, in their own words.”
Turkey’s Historic and Pioneering Role in Supporting Refugees
Comparing domestic populations, it becomes evident that Turkey is home to the largest Syrian refugee population. The number of refugees in the country is estimated at more than 1.6 million.
220,000 refugees are housed in 22 camps erected in Turkey. Even when the camps are working at full capacity, 85% of Syrian refugees still live outside them. The number of Syrian refugees in Istanbul alone is around 330,000.
Compared with examples from around the world, conditions in the camps are very good. Of the $497 million set aside for Turkey in the U.N. call for regional funding for Syrian refugees in 2014, only 28% had reached Turkey by November 5th 2014, or some $140 million; yet Turkey has spent more than 30 times that, around $4 billion, from its own budget on Syrian refugees.
In October 2014, Turkey published a Temporary Protection Decree securing the legal status of Syrian refugees. However, this has not yet been implemented.
The important role assumed by Turkey in this historical tragedy is plain for all to see, as is the strain it has place upon Turkey. However, it is crucially important for the whole world to see this fact, and for all those people sitting in their warm homes with full stomachs in peace, calm and comfort, to think for a moment that the same tragedy may one day befall them; they should thus display the requisite sensitivity.
(About the Author-Harun Yahya has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science. He may be followed at @Harun_Yahya and www.harunyahya.com)