There are now more than 3 million refugees from Syria. 96% are hosted in five neighbouring countries – Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt. Europe is the largest collective donor of humanitarian aid to these countries, but hosts only about 4% of refugees from Syria.
At present, EU policy is to provide aid, but to contain the refugee crisis to these neighbouring countries. In a new Syria Deeply interview, Cynthia Orchard, co-author of the recent policy briefing 'Protection in Europe for refugees from Syria', explains the difficulties these countries face in hosting such a large refugee population and why the current EU policy is in place:
Each of Syria’s neighboring countries individually hosts more refugees from Syria than all of Europe combined...People who are already living in poverty are now shouldering the burden of this crisis...There are 17 European countries that have set up resettlement programs for Syrian refugees. Most of them are doing it in collaboration with UNHCR. The problem is, the numbers of places they are offering are limited and vary per country. There are three main reasons they aren’t offering more slots: resources, anti-immigration sentiment and security concerns.
She sets out a three-point plan for European leaders, which would see resettlement and temporary protection programmes expanded and the opening of more safe, legal routes into Europe.
Protection in Europe for refugees from Syria (policy briefing)
Protection in Europe for refugees from Syria (executive summary)