Refugees of the Syrian Civil War

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Refugees of the Syrian Civil War
Total population: 4,088,079 estimated (29 August 2015)[1]

4,088,078 registered by UNHCR
(29 August 2015)

Regions with significant populations
(Numbers do not include foreign citizens who left Syria)
 Turkey 2,138,999 estimated (April 2015)[2][not in citation given]

1,938,999 registered (April 2015)[2]

 Lebanon 1,196,560 estimated (April 2015)[3][not in citation given]

1,185,241 registered (April 2015)[3]See: Syrians in Lebanon

 Jordan 1,400,000 estimated (ِAugust 2015)[4]

629,245 registered (August 2015)[5]See: Syrians in Jordan

 Saudi Arabia Conflicting views 5 lac or 100,000 estimated (September 2015)[6]

"500,000 not classified as refugees but as "Arab brothers and sisters in distress""[7]See: Syrians in Saudi Arabia

 Iraq 247,861 estimated (March 2015)[8]

247,861 registered (March 2015)[8]

 Egypt 133,862 estimated (April 2015)[9]

133,862 registered (April 2015)[9]

 Kuwait 120,000 estimated (2015)[10]

"Syrian expatriates who have overstayed in Kuwait"[10]

 Germany 105,000 estimated (March 2015)[11]See: Syrians in Germany
 Sweden At least 40,000 (2015) [12][13][14][15]
 Algeria 25,000 estimated (Aug 2012)

10,000 "asylum seekers"[16] (Jan 2013)

 Austria At least 18,000 (2015)[13][17]
 Armenia 17,000 estimated (July 2015)[18]
 United Kingdom 5,102 (2015)[19]
 Bahrain 5,000 estimated (September 2012)[20]
 Libya 4,716 estimated (February 2013)[21]
 Italy 4,600 estimated (Sep 2013)[22]
 Australia 4,500 (2015)[23]See: Syrians in Australia
 Bulgaria More than 4,500[24] (Sep 2013)

As many as 10,000 expected by the end of 2013[25]

 Tunisia 4,000 (Sep 2015)[26]
 Canada 2,374 (August 2015)[27][28][29]See: Syrians in Canada
 Brazil 2,077 (August 2015)[30]See: Syrians in Brazil
 United States 1,500 (March 2015)[31]See: Syrians in the United States
 Romania 1,300 (July 2014)[32]
 Russia >1,000 (Feb 2014)[33]
 Gaza Strip 1,000 (Dec 2013)[34]
 France 500 estimated (October 2013)[35][36]
 Argentina 300+ families (Aug 2013)[37]See: Syrians in Argentina
 Macedonia 255[38]
 Poland >150 (July 2015)[39]
 Hungary 'Thousands' (September 2015) [40]
 Colombia <100 (September 2014)[41]See: Syrians in Colombia
 Uruguay <100 (October 2014)[42]See: Syrians in Uruguay
 Mexico <30 (October 2014)
Language: Arabic, Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic
Religion: Sunni Islam, Christianity, Shia Islam

More than four million refugees of the Syrian Civil War have left the country during the course of the war. Most of them fled to neighboring Turkey,[43][44] Lebanon, Jordan,[45] and Iraq,[46] while thousands also ended up in more distant countries of the Caucasus, the Persian Gulf, North Africa and Europe. As of February 2015, Turkey has become the world's biggest refugee hosting country with 2.1 million Syrian refugees and had spent more than US$6 billion on direct assistance to refugees.[47][48]

The refugee crisis began in 2011, when thousands of Syrian citizens fled across the border to neighboring Turkey and Lebanon. By early July 2011, 15,000 Syrian citizens had taken shelter in tent cities, set up in the Yayladağı, Reyhanlı and Altınözü districts of Hatay Province, near Turkey's border with Syria. By the end of that month, 5,000 of the refugees had returned to Syria.[49] However, by late June 2011, the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon had reached around 10,000 people. By mid-July 2011, the first Syrian refugees found sanctuary in Jordan, with their numbers reaching 1,500 by December.[50][51]

On September 21 the European Union approved a plan committing itself to taking in 120,000 refugees.[52]



Number and location of people fleeing the violence in Syria, 13 June 2012.

The Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya inspired the Syrian people to take to the streets in peaceful demonstration against the Assad regime’s lack of political progress and extreme responses to anti-government graffiti. The government responded fiercely, torturing, killing, and shooting at the protesters. The situation escalated to a civil war.[53] Syria is now divided into territory occupied by the regime, rebel fighters, and Islamic extremists. The war is still raging today.

By 3 May 2011, the number of Syrians crossing the Turkish border was estimated at just 300 people.[54] Turkish President, Abdullah Gül, said that Turkey had prepared for "a worst-case scenario", in an apparent reference to a possible influx of large numbers of refugees from Syria.[54] He also referred to the fact that Turkey had already set up a small camp in southern Hatay Province for 263 Syrians who had fled their country on 29 April .[54]

By mid May, some 700 of Tel Kalakh residents had fled across the border, to the northern Lebanese village of Mkaybleh.[55] According to Sheikh Abdullah, a prominent religious figure in the village of Wadi Khaled in northern Lebanon, by mid May the village had received more than 1,350 refugees from Syria over a period of 10 days, most of them women and children.[56] More were expected to arrive.

On 14 May 2011, Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said that the refugee flow into Lebanon had been fairly small at around 1,000 people.[55] She also said the number of Syrians who had crossed the border into Turkey was also small at about 250.[55]

This family fled their home in Damascus in 2013 for refuge in Lebanon.

With the siege of Jisr al-Shughour, the situation on the Turkish-Syrian border deteriorated, as Jisr al-Shughour, home to 41,000 people, became largely an abandoned town, in expectation of a Syrian Army attack.[57] Initially The Guardian reported that officials in southern Turkey said that about 2,500 Syrians, many from Jisr al-Shughour, had crossed the border.[57] However, the number of refugees, housed in refugee camps across the Turkish-Syrian border exceeded 10,000 people by mid June according to other sources.[58][59][60]

By mid June, the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon was estimated by human rights associations at 8,500,[61] with the main concentrations in the Akkar and Tripoli areas,[61] and the total number of Syrian refugees in all surrounding countries surpassing more than 20,000 people. As Syrian troops amassed by the Turkish border, the flow rate further increased by hundreds of refugees a day by 23 June,[62] reaching a total of 11,700 Syrian citizens, housed in refugee camps across the Turkish border.[63]

Syrian refugee center on the Turkish border 50 miles from Aleppo, Syria (3 August 2012).

According to official numbers by early July 15, 228 Syrians had sought refuge in Turkey, as a result of tension caused by the Syrian Civil War and a crackdown on protests by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's administration.[49] More than 5,000 of them had returned on their own to Syria, therefore leaving around 10,227 Syrian refugees in Turkey.[49]

The number of registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon reached 2,600 by the end of August, with thousands more residing in Lebanon illegally.[64] According to UNHCR, some 120 Syrian refugees crossed into Lebanon on 29 August.[65] According to Al-Arabiya, some 2,500 Syrians resided in the Wadi Khaled area, down from 5,500 Syrians who were there in May.[66] Most of the Syrian refugees in the area were Arabs and Bedouins.[66] A humanitarian aid campaign was launched by "Baitulmaal" nicknamed the "Syrian Refugee Relief".[67]

By September, the estimates for Syrian refugees in Lebanon rose to around 4,000 registered, with possibly as many as 6,000 in total residing there.[68] Despite the return of many Syrians back to Syria between July and August, in early September Turkey began setting up six refugee camps for Syrian refugees, who fled from Syria in June – some 6,000 out of initial 15,000 remained in Turkey.[69]

In November, it was reported that the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey stood at 7,600.[70]

In December, the number of registered Syrian refugees had reached almost 5,000 in Lebanon.[71] By mid-December, the number of Syrian refugees in Jordan was around 1,500 registered and possibly thousands more unregistered.[51] By the end of 2011, it was reported that thousands of Syrian refugees had found shelter in Libya.[72]


On 14 January 2012, UNHCR announced that the number of registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon had reached 5,238.[73] There were almost 1,000 families registered as refugees.[73] Some 200 Syrians registered within a single week prior to the announcement.[73] By late January, 6,375 registered Syrian refugees were reported in Lebanon.[74]

Also in January, Israeli Chief of Staff announced preparations by the Israeli Army for Alawite Syrian refugees in the occupied Golan Heights, in case the Syrian government was going to collapse.[75]

In early February 2012, Jordan announced it would open a refugee camp in the country for Syrian refugees fleeing the escalating violence in Syria.[76] There were an estimated 3,000 registered Syrian refugees in Jordan.[74] The number of Syrian refugees in Turkey was around 9,700.[74]

Following the February fighting in Homs and the escalating assault of Syrian troops on towns and villages near the Lebanese border in early March, a large influx of refugees into Lebanon was reported on 4 March 2012. The exact number of newly displaced Syrian refugees was not clear but was estimated around 2,000.[77]

Turkey also reported an increased refugee flow of hundreds of people per day in mid March.[78] With the fresh influx, the number of UN registered Syrian refugees in Turkey's Hatay Province reached 13,000[78] to 13,500,[79] with possibly thousands more residing in other provinces.[80] Turkish officials near the Syrian border expected tens of thousands, perhaps as many as 50,000 new arrivals in late March and began constructing tent cities in the southern provinces of Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa.[79] By 18 March, the number of refugees in Turkey was reported at 14,700.[81]

In Jordan, as many as 80,000 Syrians were reported to have arrived, relocating mostly to the area of Ramtha and the northern city of Mafraq, according to Jordanian government spokesman Rakan Majali.[82] Rakan Majali also reported that a 30,000 square meter refugee camp was under construction in Jordan to host the influx of refugees.[82] The UN refugee agency estimated the number of registered Syrian refugees in Jordan between 5,000 and 8,000 and that Jordan had accepted around 5,000 Syrian students in state schools.[82]

The number of Syrian refugees in the Kurdish region of Iraq reached around 1,000 by 24 March.[83] Almost 1,000 asylum seekers, including 60 families and Syrian army defectors fled from Syria to Iraqi Kurdistan, according to the Iraqi Kurdistan Region's Immigration Office.[83] Kurdish refugees are offered shelter and medical care in Domiz camp. Men are given the alternative of military training in a nearby camp, with the intention of protecting Kurdish-majority territories in Syria.[84]

Syrian refugee center on the Turkish border 50 miles from Aleppo, Syria (3 August 2012).

During the April 2012 offensive by the Syrian Army, which preceded the expected ceasefire on 10 April of the Kofi Annan peace plan, the flow of refugees to Turkey reached its peak, with as many as 2,300 refugees on 4 April and 2,800 refugees on 5 April being displaced into Turkey's border areas.[85] The number of Syrian refugees in Turkey reached 23,835 by 6 April,[85] and about 25,000 by 10 April, when Kofi Annan visited the refugee camps in Turkey.[86] In Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu demanded Assad keep his promise to cease military operations, while demanding action by the international community and the UN, if more refugees came.[85]

There were 8,594 Syrian refugees reported to have reached Lebanon, with most of them in the Bekaa Valley.[87] The number of Syrian nationals in Jordan was estimated at 90,000.[88]-100,000.[89] The toal official UN number of registered refugees reached 42,000 by April,[90] while unofficial estimates stood at as many as 130,000. Aljazeera network estimated the number of Syrian refugees at 50–60,000.[91]

On 10 April, it was reported that the number of Syrian refugees in Syria's four neighboring countries jumped by 40 percent within the past few weeks and stood at about 55,000 registered refugees, almost half of whom were under 18 years old, according to U.N. figures. There were also estimated to be at least 20,000 refugees who were not registered at the time, as well as 200,000 or more Syrians who were internally displaced inside Syria.[92]

In May, 3,171 Syrian nationals of Kurdish origin registered with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Kurdistan Region, according to a UNHCR statement.[93] An estimated 10 to 15 families and 50 to 65 individuals continued to enter Duhok governorate daily.[93]

In May 2012, the UNHCR in Bogotá announced that Syrian refugees have been given political asylum in Colombia and was working closely with the Colombian NGO, Pastoral Social, to help the refugees assimilate with the language and find jobs.[94]

By the beginning of June, more than 4,000 Syrian Kurds had crossed the border into the Kurdish region of Iraq, as violence in Syria continued.[95] The large number of Syrian refugees in Jordan, estimated at 120,000, was reported to have caused a burden on Jordan's limited water resources.[96] The majority of Syrian refugees in Jordan were concentrated in the northern cities of Mafraq, Irbid, Ramtha, Jerash and Ajlun. In Lebanon, it was reported that the number of UNHCR registered Syrian refugees reached 17,000, while a total of about 26,000 registered and unregistered refugees were believed to be settled throughout the country.[97] Most of the refugees were reported to be women and children.[97] By the beginning of June, Turkey reported an influx of about 400 additional Syrian refugees, bringing the total number of registered refugees in Turkey to 24,500.[98]

Syrian refugees in Lebanon living in cramped quarters (6 August 2012).

According to Lebanese sources, nearly 19,000 Syrians had fled the Syrian capital into Lebanon between 18 and 20 July, as violence inside the city continued to escalate.[99] The United Nations refugee agency registered roughly 35,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, but there were reported to be far more Syrian refugees along its borders, upward of 140,000 people.[100] The total number of registered refugees throughout the region was reported by the UNHCR at 112,000 on 17 July 2012.[101]

In the Iraqi Kurdish region more than 6,500 refugees were registered and over 1,400 were awaiting registration.[101] The total number of registered Syrians in Lebanon had reached around 28,100 refugees by 17 July, with a further 2,000 Syrians receiving assistance while waiting for registration.[101] In Turkey, it was reported that the number of registered refugees reached more than 43,000 by 21 July, although nearly 1,000 returned to Syria because of poor conditions at the provisional refugee camps.[102]

On 9 August, a boat of refugees, including 124 first Syrian refugees arrived in Italy.[103] By mid August, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that the number of registered Syrian refugees had reached over 200,000, exceeding the UNHCR estimate of 185,000 for the entire year.[104]

The number of Syrian refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan swelled to 35,000 by late October 2012.[105]

According to UNHCR data, the total number of Syrian refugees reached more than 408,000 registered in December 2012, mostly residing in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq (including Iraqi Kurdistan).[106] The number of Syrian refugees in Turkey reached 135,519 registered;[106] 8,852 in Iraq proper and additional 54,000 in Iraqi Kurdistan;[107] 109,081 registered in Lebanon, with 41,712 people awaiting registration;[106] 100,368 registered in Jordan, with 41,524 Syrians awaiting registration.[106] There are also 12,915 people registered in Egypt as of 30 December 2012,[106] and about at least 150,000 residing in the country.[108]


Refugee children from Syria at a clinic in Ramtha, northern Jordan

There were increased fears of the exploitation of women refugees.[109]

Orthodox Christian refugees from Syria began to arrive in the United States, according to the website of the Antiochian Archdiocese.[110]

In August, Bulgaria started to experience an enormous influx of illegal Syrian refugees. Bulgaria asked the European Union and Red Cross for aid in handling an increase in Syrian refugees. Bulgaria, which shares a border with Turkey, may have to provide shelter for as many as 10,000 Syrians by year end. Bulgarian refugee centers are full and the government is looking for additional locations to accommodate a rise in people illegally crossing the border with Turkey.[111]

In August, the United Nations confirmed that groups of thousands of Syrian refugees left their country into Iraqi Kurdistan.[112]

In September, Italy also experienced increases in Syrian refugees. The majority Syrian refugees have come from Egypt, although some started their journeys from Turkey. UNHCR estimates that more than 4,600 Syrians have arrived in Italy by sea since the beginning of 2013. About two-thirds of these arrived in August.[113]

In September, Swedish migration authorities ruled that all Syrian asylum seekers will be granted permanent residency in light of the worsening conflict in Syria. Sweden is the first EU-country to make this offer.[114] The decision means that the roughly 8,000 Syrians who have temporary residency in Sweden will now be able to stay in the country permanently. They will also have the right to bring their families to Sweden. While Malek Laesker, vice-chair of the Syrian Arabian Cultural Association of Sweden, welcomed the decision, he also warned it could create problems. "The fact that Sweden is the first country to open its arms is both positive and negative," he told the TT news agency, explaining that it may be a boon for the growing people-smuggling market.[115]

In September, the countries in South America (mainly Argentina and Brazil) decided to offer refuge to thousands of displaced Syrians. More than three hundred Syrian refugee families have already arrived in Argentina.[116][117] Moreover, Brazil is the first country in the Americas region to offer humanitarian visas to Syrian refugees. Brazil's embassies in (Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq) countries neighbouring Syria will be responsible for issuing travel visas for people wanting to go there. Claims for asylum will need to be presented on arrival in Brazil. These special humanitarian visas will also be provided to family members living in countries neighbouring Syria.[118]

The Syrian Civil developed into a proxy war, under the power of President Bashar al-Assad, leading to 100,000 civilians dead and over 1.5 million Syrian refugees displaced throughout the Middle East.[119]


By the end of August 2014, the UN estimated 6.5 million people had been displaced within Syria, while more than 3 million refugees had fled to countries such as Lebanon (1.14 million), Jordan (608,000) and Turkey (815,000). Another 35,000 refugees were awaiting registration, while estimates of several hundred thousand more were not included in official figures as they were unregistered. "The Syria crisis has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era, yet the world is failing to meet the needs of refugees and the countries hosting them," the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said at the time.[120]

Turkey's Killis camp was featured in a Feb. 13 article in the New York Times titled How to Build a Perfect Refugee Camp. It is run by Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD, and staffed by Turkish government employees, rather than by NGOs. It is hoped that the 14,000 refugees benefiting from the clean, well organized facility will eventually "go home and become grand ambassadors of Turkey."[121]

The UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) reported in 2014 that the total number of refugees worldwide exceeded 50 million for the first time since World War II. The recent increases were largely due to the Syrian civil war.[122] In September the Muslim Scholars Committee condemned human rights abuses after military raids on Syrian refugee camps in Arsal. The statement said 'the collective punishment of Syrian refugees cannot be justified," and called for a 'transparent and impartial investigation of the violations, from the burning of camps to the torturing of detainees in Arsal'. The Army had been conducting wide raids on Syrian refugee sites in Arsal. The Lebanese army said it opened fire on 3 individuals on a motorcycle who attempted to burn another nearby tented settlement.[123]

1 million refugees were registered by the UNHCR during 2014,[124] most of these refugees headed to Turkey due to the instability in north eastern Syria caused by ISIS, and Lebanon received and increasing number of Economic Refugees, Jordan comparatively received much fewer refugees due to the relative stability in Southern Syria in 2014 compared to 2013.[125]

As of October 2014, Uruguay is receiving an immigration flow of Syrian refugees.[42]


Syrian refugees at Budapest Keleti railway station, 4 September 2015

On July 9, 2015, the UNHCR reported that the number of Syrian refugees has surged to over 4,000,000 people, mostly residing in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

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.[126] 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.[127] Syrians formed the largest group of refugees to Europe.[128] 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.

According to The Times, "Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, is to table a plan to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers from Hungary, Italy and Greece across the European Union. The proposal will include binding quotas to impose more than 55,000 refugees on countries opposed to his scheme."[129][130]

The BBC reported that "despite their proximity to Syria, no Syrians claiming asylum have been taken in by Saudi Arabia or other wealthy Gulf countries."[131] The BBC also reported that "most successful cases are Syrians already in Gulf states extending their stays, or those entering because they have family there."[132] There are conflicting reports of Saudi Arabia's version. According to the The Guardian, "Saudi Arabia has said reports about its response to the Syrian refugee crisis are "false and misleading" and it has in fact given residency to 100,000 people as war rages in their country. No Gulf country has signed the UN Convention on Refugees, which sets standards for the treatment and rights of those fleeing to a new country."[6] According to the UNHCR's representative for the Gulf region, there are 500,000 Syrians in Saudi Arabia, but in "official documentation they are referred to as "Arab brothers and sisters in distress"" and not as Syrian nationals.[133] While Al Jazeera and Arab News, on 12 Sep 2015, reported that Saudi Foreign ministry official says nation has received nearly 2.5 million Syrians since 2011.[134][135] Though there were no evidence to authenticate this statement or prove it.

On September 21, 2015 23 European Union home affairs and interior ministers of the 28-member nations approved a plan without a consensus, compelling "member countries to take in 120,000 migrants seeking refuge on the Continent." Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia opposed the plan and Finland abstained.[52] Poorer countries like Hungary and Slovakia are concerned about the economic and social cost of absorbing large numbers of refugees. Wealthier countries like Germany and Sweden embrace ethnic diversity and are able to offer more humanitarian assistance.[52]

Partial suspension of the Dublin Regulation[edit]

Under the Dublin Regulation, if a person that had filed for asylum in one EU country illegally crosses borders to another country, they shall be returned to the former. During the 2015 European migrant crisis, Hungary became overburdened by asylum applications to the point that it stopped on 23 June 2015 receiving back its applicants who later crossed the borders to other EU countries and were detained there.[136] On 24 August 2015, Germany decided to suspend the Dublin Regulation as regards Syrian refugees and to process their asylum applications directly itself.[137] On 2 September 2015, the Czech Republic also decided to defy the Dublin Regulation and to offer Syrian refugees who have already applied for asylum in other EU countries and who reach the country to either have their application processed in the Czech Republic (i.e. get asylum there) or to continue their journey elsewhere.[138]


National government positions on the 2015 EU mandatory quota plan for asylum seekers in the EU, as of 5 September 2015:
  Opt-out (de facto refusal)

Aid given[edit]

by the European Commission and member states[edit]

EU € Euro value of aid sent by European Union members
 European Union

As of 19 August 2015 with data from Europa.[139]

British Pound (GBP) to Euro (EUR) exchange rate history

By Country[edit]

Country £ GBP value of aid sent
 United States
 United Kingdom
 Saudi Arabia


As of 4 September 2015 with data from Daily Mail[141]

by charities and organisations[edit]

IOM.svg International Organization for Migration – The International Organization for Migration provided water filters, rechargeable lights, stoves, blankets and pillows in Lebanon and Iraq in June 2012, as well as winterization kits to Syrians in Iraq throughout the wnter 2012–2013.[142]

Refugees accepted by country[edit]

"Syrian Refugees Welcome" sign, used by locals to signalize a friendly attitude toward the Refugees of the Syrian Civil War.
Syrian refugees, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
Syrian refugees in Lebanon
Syrian refugee children in Lebanon
UK-funded food vouchers (worth £15 per person per month) are distributed to Syrian refugees in Amman, Jordan, through the World Food Programme.

 Argentina – Argentina decided in September 2013 to offer refuge to thousands of displaced Syrians. As of August 2013, more than three hundred Syrian refugee families have already arrived in Argentina.[116][117]

 Australia – Australia will accept 2,200 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.[143] Australia has announced a further 12,000 refugees will be accepted.[144]

 Austria – As of 2015, there are at least 18,000 estimated Syrian refugees in Austria.[13][17]

 Bahrain – Bahrain rejected reports from Bahraini opposition that they were trying to alter the country's demographics by naturalizing Syrians.[145]

 Brazil – Brazil is the first country in the Americas region to offer humanitarian visas to Syrian refugees. Brazil's embassies in (Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq) countries neighbouring Syria will be responsible for issuing travel visas for people wanting to go there. Claims for asylum will need to be presented on arrival in Brazil. These special humanitarian visas will also be provided to family members living in countries neighbouring Syria.[118] As of January 2015, there are 1,740 Syrian refugees in Brazil.[146]

 Bulgaria - Bulgaria welcomes refugees if they do not stay permanently within the country and instead go to Germany to apply for refugee status. According to Eurostat estimates, Bulgaria received 11,080 asylum applications in 2014, 56% of which were made by Syrian citizens and on which 94.2% of first instance decisions were positive for Syrian citizens, making it the country with the highest acceptance rate in the EU.[147][148] For the period of Jan-Jul, 2015, there were estimated 9,200 asylum applications to Bulgaria with average acceptance rate remaining the same as in the previous year.[149]

 Canada – In July 2013, Canada had promised to resettle 1,300 Syrian refugees by 2015[150] and also promised $100 million in humanitarian aid for Syria.[151] In January 2014, Canada pledged $105 million to Jordan, of which $100 million was "to promote economic development and deliver basic services, such as education, to Jordanians and Syrian refugees".[152] As of March 2014, "no more than 10 [had] arrived in Canada."[153] As of August 2015, Canada accepted 2,374 Syrian refugees.[27][28] On 10 September 2015, Remi Lariviere, a spokesman for Canada's citizenship and immigration department, said: "the government of Canada has agreed to resettle 11,300 Syrian refugees by the end of 2017".[154] In contrast to the small number of accepted Syrian refugees, the government of Canada will accept "23,000 Iraqi refugees by the end of 2015".[155] On 19 September 2015, the current Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced that Canada would speed up processing of Syrian refugee applications by fifteen months. This represents the resettlement of 10,000 Syrians by September 2016 instead of 2017.[29] To increase efficiency "Syrians fleeing civil war and sectarian conflict will no longer have to prove" they are convention refugees under the United Nations Refugee Agency. They "will be presumed to be refugees by Canadian authorities for the purposes of vetting their applications." As well the number of additional officers to missions abroad will be increased and the number of at the Centralized Processing Office in Winnipeg will be doubled.[29] Immigration Minister Alexander promised that "applications from Syrians will be handled within six months of being filed."[29]

 Colombia – Colombia has accepted Syrian refugees that have asked for asylum within Colombia. The refugees are then reported to the United Nations Refugee Agency in Bogotá,[156] where then they are aided to learn Spanish with support of Pastoral Social, a Colombian NGO that works closely with the UNHCR .[157]

 Croatia – Croatia welcomes refugees if they do not stay permanently within the country and instead go to Germany to apply for refugee status. In addition, Croatia, an EU member state, shares land border with Serbia, therefore there is a risk of strong inflow of migrants from Serbia considering that Hungary erected a fence on its border with Serbia. Nearly 80% of the border consist of Danube river, but the problem is 70 kilometers long so-called "Green Border" near Tovarnik. According to the Croatian Minister of Interior Ranko Ostojić "police in the area has enough people and equipment to protect Croatian border against illegal immigrants".[158] Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and First Deputy Prime Minister Vesna Pusić rejected option of building a fence on Croatian border with Serbia.[159][160] On 15 September 2015, Croatia started to experience the first major waves of refugees of the Syrian Civil War. "First Syrian refugees cross Croatia-Serbia border, carving out potential new route through Europe after Hungary seals borders".[161]

 Finland – Finland has planned to accept 350 refugees from Syria under the refugee quota for 2015.[162]

 France – As of October 2013, there are 500 estimated Syrian refugees in France.[35]

 Germany – The German Federal Minister of the Interior estimated in March 2015, that some 105,000 Syrian refugees have been accepted by Germany.[11] Asked in an interview how many refugees per year Germany can accommodate, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that "The fundamental right to asylum for the politically persecuted knows no upper limit; that also goes for refugees who come to us from the hell of a civil war."[163]

 Greece – Greece welcomes refugees if they do not stay permanently within the country and instead go to Germany to apply for refugee status. As of 2015, there are 88,204 estimated Syrian refugees in Greece.[164]

 Hungary – Hungary welcomes refugees if they do not stay permanently within the country and instead go to Germany to apply for refugee status. In the summer of 2015, Hungary became one of most affected European countries by migration crisis, along with Macedonia, Serbia, Italy and Greece.[165]

 Iceland – Icelandic government announced it would accept 50 Syrian refugees.[166]

 Iran – As of early 2014 Iran has sent 150 tons of humanitarian goods including 3,000 tents and 10,000 blankets to the Red Crescents of Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon via land routes to be distributed among the Syrian refugees residing in the three countries.[167]

 Iraq – As of March 2015, there are 247,861 estimated Syrian refugees in Iraq.[8] In March 2012, the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government announced plans to construct a second refugee camp for Syrian nationals fleeing the violence in their country, as Moqebleh refugee camp at Qamishli, which was established following the 2004 Al-Qamishli riots, became overcrowded with refugees of the Syrian Civil War.[168] According to the World Food Programme, in the span of one week in August 2013, 37,000 Syrians fled to Iraq, 15,000 of them arriving at the Kawrgosk camp in Kurdish Northern Iraq.[169]

 Israel – Israel has refused to offer any resettlement places to Syrian refugees.[170] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "We will not allow Israel to be submerged by a wave of illegal migrants and terrorist activists."[171] Israelis from humanitarian groups have operated in Jordan to assist Syrian refugees who have fled there. By March 2015, nearly 2000 Syrians injured in the Syrian Civil War had been treated in Israeli hospitals.[172]

 Japan – Japan has offered zero resettlement places to Syrian refugees because "the ministry says, fleeing conflict is not a definition of a refugee as codified in the refugee convention".[173] Japan has only been processing the applications by strictly abiding by the refugee convention, while many countries in Europe, which have seen a sharp increase in Syrian asylum seekers in recent years, have been broadening their refugee definitions and support for asylum seekers.[174] Four Syrian asylum seekers initiated a lawsuit against the Japanese government to seek official refugee status after they were denied refugee status but have been granted tentative residence permits.[175][176]

 Jordan – Jordan began construction of a 30,000 square meter refugee camp in March 2012. Jordan has agreed to create camps to house the swelling numbers of refugees, including one camp already in the works in northern Jordan that could hold up to 113,000 people.[100] Jordan has forcibly returned some newly arriving Palestinians from Syria and threatened others with deportation. Jordan has absorbed some 500,000 Syrian refugees, but Palestinians fleeing Syria are placed in a separate refugee camp, under stricter conditions and are banned from entering Jordanian cities.[177] Since April 2012, Jordanian authorities have also arbitrarily detained Palestinians fleeing Syria in a refugee holding center without any options for release – other than to Syria. Jordan was criticized by Human Rights Watch for singling out Palestinian refugees.[178][179] The economics behind Jordan's refugee program have also been a subject of significant domestic contention and anxiety. The Jordanian Ministry of Planning estimated the cost of refugee accommodation to be $851.1 million, or roughly 2 percent of the country's $40 billion GDP. Though much international aid has been promised, so far it has come up several hundreds of millions of dollars short of the total cost. Jordanian government announced the beginning of the month of February its intention to build a camp for Syrian refugees fleeing the escalating violence in their country. As was reported from Turkey for 3,000 refugees crossing the border between the two countries, bringing the total number of registered refugees in Turkey, 9,700 refugees end of February.[180] As of April 2015, there are 628,427 estimated Syrian refugees in Jordan.[4]

 Kuwait – Kuwait has an estimated 120,000 Syrian nationals. More specifically, Kuwait extends residency permits for Syrian expatriates who have overstayed in Kuwait.[10]

 Lebanon – As of 8 August 2013, more than 677,702 Syrian refugees are in Lebanon.[181] As the number of Syrian refugees increases, the Lebanese Forces Party, the Kataeb Party, and the Free Patriotic Movement fear the country's sectarian-based political system is being undermined.[182] As of April 2015, there are 1,196,560 estimated Syrian refugees in Lebanon.[3]

Refugees wait to cross the Greek-Macedonia border, 24 August 2015

 Macedonia – Macedonia welcomes refugees if they do not stay permanently within the country and instead go to Germany to apply for refugee status. In summer of 2015, Macedonia becomes one of most affected European countries by migration crisis, along with Hungary, Serbia, Italy and Greece.[165]

 Malaysia – Malaysia decided in October 2015 to take 3,000 Syrian refugees.[183]

 New Zealand – New Zealand has admitted 83 Syrian refugees.[184] New Zealand has announced a further 750 refugees will be accepted.[185]

 Norway – Norway has announced it will accept 8,000 refugees from Syria under the UN quota system by the end of 2017.[186]

 Qatar – Qatar is sponsoring 42 Syrian refugees as 'guests of the Emir'.[187]

 Romania – The European Commission asked Romania to accept 6,351 refugees under an EU quota scheme.[188] The Bloomberg reported that "Romania’s government will call on the European Union to grant its citizens equal access to the visa-free Schengen area if the bloc’s leaders impose mandatory quotas on its members to shelter refugees."[189]

 Russia – gave $24 million for Syrian refugees.[190] Russia also granted over 1,000 Syrian refugees asylum.[191][192][193] About 5,000 Syrian refugees have settled in Russia since 2012.[194] Five hundred Christian refugees arrived in Sochi and settled there.

 Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia has offered resettlement only to for Syrian migrants that had a family in the kingdom, and has an estimated number of Syrian migrants and foreign workers that reaches 100,000 living with their families[6] and has sent aid worth $280 million to help Syrian refugees.[195] Saudi Arabia, like all of the Gulf states, is not a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention.[7] According to the Saudi official, Saudi Arabia had issued residency permits to 100,000 Syrians.[6] The BBC reported that "most successful cases are Syrians already in Gulf states extending their stays, or those entering because they have family there."[132]

Refugees cross into Hungary underneath the Hungary–Serbia border fence, 25 August 2015

 Serbia – Serbia welcomes refugees if they do not stay permanently within the country and instead go to Germany to apply for refugee status. In August 2015, Vucic said that Serbia will do anything to help these people on their way to better life in Germany. He promised more toilets for them, blankets, food and announced opening of the temporary reception centre in Belgrade during winter months. He also drew comparisons between the refugees and the people of Serbia "who also had to leave their homes 20 years ago, positing that because Serbs suffered then, they understand the problems that the refugees face.[196]

 Slovenia – Originally, Slovenia welcomed refugees as long as they did not stay permanently within the country and instead went to Germany to apply for refugee status. As of September 2015, however, Slovenia has reportedly considered housing "up to 10,000" refugees, as well as creating new passageways through the country for refugees in response to increasing tensions at its border with Croatia.[197]

 Sweden – In September 2013, Swedish migration authorities ruled that all Syrian asylum seekers will be granted permanent residency and the right to bring their families as well. Sweden is the first EU-country to make this offer.[198] The number of Syrian nationals settling in Sweden under refugee status was 2,943 in 2012,[12] 9,755 in 2013,[13] and 18,827 in 2014,[14][15] summing up to a total increase of 31,525 refugees during this period. Additionally, another 9,028 Syrian nationals settled in Sweden on grounds of family reunification. Moreover, during this period, Sweden has received over 10,000 stateless persons, many of whom are refugees that previously resided in Syria.[12][13][14][15]

Syrian refugees in Budapest, 4 September 2015

  Switzerland – Switzerland announced its consideration to accept Syrian refugees per U.N. request.[199]

 Turkey – Turkey has accommodated most of its Syrian refugees in tent cities in Hatay province, which have been constructed since summer 2011.[200] As of April 2015, there are 2,138,999 estimated Syrian refugees in Turkey.[2]

 Uruguay - As of October 2014, more than 100 Syrian refugees are in Uruguay.[42] The Syrians resettled in Uruguay want to go back and leave Uruguay.[201]

 United Kingdom – The UK has so far granted asylum to 5,102 refugees[19] of whom 216 have been actively resettled.[202] United Kingdom has allocated the equivalent of ~1.4 billion USD since 2012 to meet the immediate needs of vulnerable people in Syria and of refugees in the region.[203] The stance of its government has been severely criticised by human rights groups.[204][205] In September, the UK Government announced plans to accept 20,000 refugees from Syria over a period of 5 years, taken from refugee camps in Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan.[206]

 United States – As of September 2015, the United States has resettled 1,500 Syrians,[207] up from 90 Syrian refugees in 2013.[208] The United States has sent "more than $2.9 billion" in humanitarian aid for those affected by Syria crisis since March 2011.[209] By August 10th the Obama administration made a controversial policy shift which will significantly increase the number of new Syrian refugees permanently admitted to the U.S. Only about ninety Syrian refugees were admitted since 2013. In mid-August 10 the number was increased 2,000 refugees.[210] By September 10 the number for acceptance of the refugees had been increased to 10,000.[211] On September 20, 2015 Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the "Obama administration will increase the number of refugees the United States is willing to accept in 2017 to 100,000, a significant increase over the current annual worldwide cap of 70,000."[212]

 Venezuela – The Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that Venezuela is prepared to give asylum to 20,000 refugees from Syria.[213]

Within supranational organizations[edit]

Syrian refugees strike in front of the Budapest Keleti railway station, 3 September 2015

 European Union – The European Union has sent aid worth nearly €1,800 million ($2,430 million) in relief and recovery aid for Syrian refugees from both the Commission and Member States, making it the largest international contributor to Syrian refugees both internally and externally displaced. European assistance reaches up to 80% of the population affected by the crisis.[214]

GCC Flag.svg Gulf Cooperation Council – The oil-rich Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.) have refused to accept a larger number of Syrian refugees.[215] If the Gulf Cooperation Council decides, as some analysis's claim, Saudi Arabia and its GCC allies can easily take up to three million Syrian refugees within one year.[216] The BBC reported that "most successful cases are Syrians already in Gulf states extending their stays, or those entering because they have family there."[132] According to the official from Saudi Arabia’s ministry of foreign affairs, cited by the official Saudi press agency, there are 100,000 Syrians in Saudi Arabia.[6] They are not classified as refugees.[7]

Regional response[edit]

Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has a policy of helping refugees work and be productive, using their existing skills to meet their own needs and needs of the host country:

Ensure the right of refugees to access work and other livelihood opportunities as they are available for nationals... Match programme interventions with corresponding levels of livelihood capacity (existing livelihood assets such as skills and past work experience) and needs identified in the refugee population, and the demands of the market... Assist refugees in becoming self-reliant. Cash / food / rental assistance delivered through humanitarian agencies should be short-term and conditional and gradually lead to self-reliance activities as part of longer-term development... Convene internal and external stakeholders around the results of livelihood assessments to jointly identify livelihood support opportunities.[217]

In order for humanitarian efforts to be effective, it is important to understand the profile of those seeking refuge (existing mental health system and available resources).[218] If enough aid is provided to refugees, it can help host countries too, through stimulus effects.[219] However refugee support does not usually provide cash to create effective demand.[220]

Syrian Civil War refugees in neighboring countries (as of 4 September 2015)[221]


There are over 2.1 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, more than any other country. Around 30 percent of these live in 22 government-run camps near the Syrian-Turkish border.[222] However under Turkish law they cannot apply for refugee status but only temporary protection status. Registering for temporary protection status gives access to government services such as health and education, as well as the right to apply for a work permit in certain geographic areas and professions. But over a third of urban refugees are not registered.[223]


The Lebanese government refused from the onset of the refugee crisis to set up Syrian refugee camps within its territory. This policy led to the free settlement of Syrians throughout the Lebanese territory. While most Syrians rent their accommodations in around 1,700 locations countrywide,[224] a fifth of them lives in non-formal settlements,[225] mostly concentrated in border governorates.


Several refugee camps in Jordan host about 100,000 Syrian nationals as of 2014, including the Zaatari refugee camp and Mrajeeb Al Fhood refugee camp.


Refugee tents at Arbat Transit Camp for Syrian Refugees in Sulaymaniyah, Northern parts of Iraq, March 2014.

Several refugee camps exist in northern parts of Iraq. Kurdish Regional Government hosting mostly Syrians of ethnic Kurdish origins.


As of April 2015, there are at least 133,862 estimated Syrian refugees in Egypt, making it the fifth country in the region with Syrian refugees, after Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.[9]

Gulf States[edit]

The Amnesty International reported that Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain have offered "zero resettlement places to Syrian refugees", although they gave some money to refugee aid initiatives.[226] If the Gulf Cooperation Council decides, as some analysis's claim, Saudi Arabia and its GCC allies can easily take up to three million Syrian refugees within one year.[216] There are other reports which say that Saudi Arabia has about 100,000 Syrians living temporarily in the country.[6] Syrian migrants in Saudi Arabia are not classified as refugees.[7]


According to the Government of Armenia, since the start of the conflict 17,000 Syrian citizens, primarily of ethnic Armenian background, have arrived in Armenia, of whom as of July 2015 about 13,000 displaced persons remained and found protection in Armenia. The government is offering several protection options including simplified naturalization by Armenian descent (15,000 persons acquired Armenian citizenship), accelerated asylum-procedures and facilitated short, mid and long-term residence permits.[227] In addition another 38 Armenian families (about 200 people) resettled in the de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as of 2013.[228] Besides ethnic Armenians from Syria, three Kurdish Yazidi families have also found refuge in Armenia. Armenia is home to a large Kurdish Yazidi community currently numbering 35,000.[229]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Refugee Struggle Reports:


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