By Batsheva Sobelman, Los Angeles Time
Since the beginning of the civil war in Syria, now in its fifth year, more than 4 million refugees have fled the country while nearly twice as many have become internally displaced.
Hundreds of thousands of these refugees — and others fleeing threatened areas in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere — are on the move, taking perilous journeys by land and sea after setting their sights on a better future in Europe. The result has been the biggest refugee crisis the continent has experienced in decades.
According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are nearly 4.1 million registered refugees from Syria. Some countries have opened their doors, hearts and pocketbooks to varying degrees. Others have hoisted barriers to the migrant tide.
Here is a look at how the refugee crisis has unfolded in some of the key countries in the region and beyond:
LEBANON has taken in 1.1 million registered refugees and others who are not registered. Government officials put the overall number at 1.5 million. With an estimated population of about 4.5 million, Lebanon has the highest per-capita number of Syrian refugees, accounting for about 1 in 4 people in the country. With half a million Palestinians remaining in refugee camps established six decades ago, the government has been reluctant to set up formal refugee camps for the Syrians.
JORDAN says it has taken in 1.4 million Syrians, although the UNHCR counts 629,266 registered refugees. Jordan prides itself on its hospitality toward these and other refugees, but the high numbers — about 20% of the population, based on government figures — have taxed the small kingdom, already struggling with strained resources such as energy and water.
TURKEY has taken in the most refugees of any country and is home to more than 1.9 million Syrians who have crossed the border. About a third live in government-run camps near the border whereas others have dispersed. According to rights organizations, the Syrians in Turkey do not enjoy full access to legal safeguards protecting refugees, but in recent years the UNHCR has been given more access to the refugee camps.
ISRAEL is the only country sharing a border with Syria that has not taken in any Syrian refugees. Israel has extended humanitarian aid and medical treatment, including in Israeli hospitals, to more than 1,000 people injured in the fighting in Syria in recent years but has said it will not take in refugees. Israel and Syria do not have diplomatic relations.
Refugees of the Syrian Civil War:
During the first half of 2015, large numbers of Syrian refugees crossed into European Union member states, reaching 313,000 UNHCR applications across Europe by early August 2015. The largest numbers were recorded in Germany with over 89,000 and Sweden with over 62,000 in early August.
More than 100,000 refugees crossed the European Union’s borders in July alone. Syrians formed the largest group of refugees to Europe. As of September 2015, it was reported that more than 8,000 refugees crossed into Europe on a daily basis. 5,000 of those refugees were received by Greece alone, the majority of whom came from Iraq or Syria.
While the refugees are flooding and are being received by the Europeans, the Gulf Cooperation Council states and Saudi Arabia have refused to help. These are among some the wealthiest countries in the world.
An official of the Kuwaiti government said that the countries mentioned above are too good and expensive for the refugees who, to him, are different. Their internal stress and trauma are not welcomed. The refugees, he said, are better suited for Turkey and Lebanon.
The Saudi indifference is just as inhuman. 100,000 air conditioned tents remain wasted when they can accommodate at least 3 million refugees.
Yet, all that is heard is the West being urged to be more compassionate and accept everyone.
If the Europeans are sensible enough to be bitter and refuse the asylum seekers, they have every right to do so. Charity should begin from home.
Israel and syria do not have diplomatic relations..?? Theyre at war….its pretty freaking noble of israel to help a country that is is currently at war with it.