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The Role of Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon in Helping Syrians

More than 2 million people have evacuated Syria since the beginning of the crisis. Almost all of them are living as refugees in neighbouring countries or in different continents around the world.

Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey share a border with Syria. These countries were quick to respond to the “worst humanitarian crisis since Rwanda” and opened their doors to the Syrian people. No one at that time would have imagined the refugees to stay away from their motherland for so long. Even the countries that took them had not expected the crisis to go beyond the first year. It is now approaching three years and there is not even a rumour of any kind of progress being made. Despite these odds, these countries continue to provide food, clothes and shelter to the refugees.

According to the latest statistics from the leading relief aid organisation and UNHCR:

  • 759,992 Syrian refugees are currently living in relief camps in Lebanon
  • 525,231 Syrian refuges are living in shelters in Jordan
  • 492,716 Syrian refugees are being taken care of in Turkey

Based on this, these three countries alone have accommodated almost 89% of all Syrian refugees that have crossed the borders over the course of three years. It is a monumental effort by any standards worthy of recognition and appreciation. It speaks volumes about coalition partners working together for the greater good even when things get tough. The relief camps were set up promptly by Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey and were managed smoothly in the early months but as they started filling up, these countries found themselves bracing for a challenge they never thought they would be tackling.

The once spacious refugee camps are completely crowded now. In fact most of them like the Zataari Camp have over grown their capacity forcing refugees to spill out of the boundaries and settle on the outskirts. The schools have filled up. The makeshift hospitals and clinics are operating beyond full capacity. Supplies are running out faster than the aid from abroad is coming in leaving newborn babies in need of immunisation and injured civilians requiring urgent surgery. Their sufferings have been prolonged until the right equipment and medicines comes through.

These are just some of the challenges that ground personnel are experiencing in these countries but they are coping, barely. Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan have done an outstanding job to providing adequate humanitarian relief to the people of Syria. In contrast, the response from EU countries has been very poor. The 28 EU countries have so far managed to accommodate only 8,000 Syrian refugees within its borders. Some have given them amnesty, others, refugee status. But more is needed from EU in order to successfully curtail the Syrian crisis. Some might argue that these countries are fighting for Syria in the United Nations, in order to put an end to the crisis. It has been almost three years and no progress has been made on that front. All the while refugees keep on coming. More needs to be done. We need to do more, on both platforms.

For more information on how you can help the Syrian people, donate to or volunteer with Muslim Aid’s Syria Relief Aid campaign.

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