Refugee camps: The Syrian diaspora

Published on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Bassel Oudat, Dec 17, 2015.

Millions of Syrian refugees face harsh conditions in makeshift camps inside the borders of neighbouring states.

The Syrian refugee crisis, the worst such displacement in generations, is far from over. Nearly five million people have crossed the borders into nearby countries. Left to the tender mercies of the local authorities and international relief efforts, they huddle in makeshift camps.  

The longer their ordeal continues, the worse their living conditions become as one country after another grows wary of the social and political consequences of their stay. According to UN sources, 4.7 million Syrian refugees now live in neighbouring countries, including two million in Turkey, 1.2 million in Lebanon and 630,000 in Jordan.

But whether they are in Turkey, Jordan or Lebanon, the refugees tell a similar story. They are accommodated in tents or pre-fabs with inadequate water for washing and drinking, primitive sewage, and too few schools and hospitals. Except in Turkey, the refugees have no or little access to work, and they don’t feel safe or welcome.

One million children have dropped out of school as a result of the lack of schooling in the camps. Poor and vulnerable to disease, the refugees face discrimination, claim that they are mistreated by the security services, and say that the inhabitants of nearby villages and towns view them with suspicion.

A main concern in the countries hosting the refugees is that the Syrians may end up staying for years, straining budgets and potentially upsetting the delicate balance among local ethnicities and factions … //


At the beginning of the refugee crisis, Turkey flung its doors wide open to the Syrian refugees, a decision that has cost its government $7 billion in funds so far. Turkey created camps for the refugees and provided them with housing, healthcare and education. It even allowed those who entered legally to work … //


Backed by Hizbullah and Iranian forces, the Lebanese army is said to be conducting searches and arresting Syrians in refugee camps in Lebanon. Some of those arrested have apparently been handed over to the Syrian authoritie … //


According to the available reports, one family out of three in the Syrian refugee camps in Jordan have now pulled their children out from school so that they may be employed in odd jobs to help their parents … //

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