Refugees of the Syrian Civil War
|Regions with important populations (over 1,000 refugees)[a]|
|Turkey||2,724,937 (registered as of August 2016)
2,748,367 (the highest number registered, 3 March 2016)
|Lebanon||1,500,000 (estimated arrivals as of December 2015)
|Jordan||1,265,000 (census results as of November 2015)
657,422 (registered July 2016)
|Germany||600,000 (2014 to late 2016)
429,000 (registered by late 2016)
456,023 (applicants by February 2016)
|Saudi Arabia||500,000 (estimated overstays as of 2016)|
|United Arab Emirates||242,000 (estimated overstays as of 2015)|
|Iraq (incl. Iraqi Kurdistan)||230,836 (registered)|
|Kuwait||155,000+ (estimated overstays to June 2015)|
|Egypt||117,702 (registered by March 2016)
119,665 (UNHCR estimate as of March 2016)
500,000 (Egypt MFA estimate as of September 2016)
|Sweden||110,333 (applicants to December 2015)|
72,505 (applicants to December 2015)
|Canada||62,000+ (applicants to Feb 2017)
43,000+ (approved as of Feb 2017)
40,081 (resettled as of Feb 2017)
|Croatia||55,000 (estimated as of September 2015)
386 (applicants to December 2015)
|Greece||54,574 (estimated in country May 2016)
5,615 (applicants to December 2015)
|Algeria||43,000 (estimated as of November 2015)
5,721 (registered as of November 2015)
|Qatar||40,000 (estimated overstays 2015)
|Austria||39,131 (applicants to July 2016)|
|Netherlands||31,963 (applicants to July 2016)|
|Libya||26,672 (registered as of December 2015)|
|Armenia||20,000 (estimated as of October 2016)|
|Denmark||19,433 (applicants to December 2015)|
|Bulgaria||17,527 (applicants to December 2015)|
|United States||16,218 (resettled by November 2016)|
|Belgium||16,986 (applicants to July 2016)|
|Norway||13,993 (applicants to December 2015)|
|Singapore||13,856 (applicants to December 2015)|
|Switzerland||12,931 (applicants to July 2016)|
|Serbia (incl. Kosovo)||11,831 (applicants to February 2016)|
|France||11,694 (applicants to July 2016)|
|United Kingdom||9,467 (applicants to July 2016)
5,102 (resettled as of August 2015)
2,097 (as of November 2015)
|Spain||8,365 (applicants to December 2015)|
|Russia||7,096 (overstays in residence to April 2016)|
|Australia||6,000 (resettled to Jan 2017)|
|Malaysia||5,000 (estimated in August 2015)|
|Tunisia||4,000 (September 2015)|
|Cyprus||3,527 (applicants to December 2015)|
|Bahrain||3,500 (estimated June 2015)|
|Montenegro||2,975 (applicants to December 2015)|
|Italy||2,538 (applicants to December 2015)|
|Romania||2,525 (applicants to December 2015)|
|Macedonia||2,150 (applicants to December 2015)|
|Malta||1,222 (applicants to December 2015)|
|Somalia||1,312 (as of January 2016)|
|Finland||1,127 (as of December 2015)|
|Poland||757 (applicants to July 2015)|
|Sri Lanka||675 (applicants as of October 2011, as Syriac Orthodox Church representants and members)|
|The Philippines||553 (applicants of May 2003)|
|Slovakia||550 (applicants as of 19 October 2015)|
|Argentina||Around 300+ families (as of August 2013)|
|Czech Republic||369 (applicants to December 2015)|
|New Zealand||335 (resettled to Jan 2017)|
|Singapore||279 (as of 26 October 2015)|
|Ireland||220 (applicants to December 2015)|
|Slovenia||201 (applicants to December 2015)|
|Portugal||206 (applicants to December 2013|
|Colombia||Around 100 (as of September 2014)|
|Uruguay||Around 100 (as of October 2014)|
|Ukraine||96 (applicants as of Summer 2010)|
|Estonia||84 (applicants as of June 2010)|
|Mauritius||73 (applicants as of July 2006)|
|Belarus||55 (applicants as of Fall 2008)|
|Latvia||48 (applicants as of April 2009)|
|India||46 (applicants as of January 2012, as Syriac Orthodox Church representants and members)|
|Maldives||45 (applicants as of January 2005)|
|Trinidad and Tobago||44 (applicants as of July 2007)|
|Mexico||Around 30 (as of October 2014)|
|Kazakhstan||Around 25 (as of September 2015)|
|Language:||Arabic, Kurdish, Turkish, Armenian, Aramaic|
|Religion:||Sunni Islam, Christianity, Shia Islam, Yazidism, Druze|
Refugees of the Syrian Civil War or Syrian refugees are citizens and permanent residents of Syrian Arab Republic, who have fled from their country since the onset of the Syrian Civil War in 2011 and have sought asylum in other countries.
In 2016, the United Nations (UN) identified 13.5 million Syrians requiring humanitarian assistance, of which more than 6 million are internally displaced within Syria, and over 4.8 million are refugees outside of Syria. In January 2017, UNHCR counted 4,863,684 registered refugees. Turkey is the largest host country of registered refugees with over 2.7 million Syrian refugees. Saudi Arabia claims to have received nearly 2.5 million Syrian citizens as of 2016, but without registering them as refugees. Assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) within Syria, and Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, is planning largely through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
In 2016, pledges have been made to the UNHCR, by various nations, to permanently resettle 170,000 registered refugees.
- 1 History
- 2 International response
- 3 See also
- 4 Notes
- 5 References
- 6 Bibliography
- 7 External links
The Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen inspired protests in Syria, followed by Syrian Army intervention. As Syria descended into civil war, it quickly became divided into a complex patchwork of shifting alliances and territories between the Assad government, rebel groups, ethnic groups, and Islamic extremists. By May it was estimated that no more than 300 Syrian refugees had crossed into Turkey. Turkey set up a small camp for those refugees and reported it was preparing for "a worst-case scenario" should refugee numbers increase. By mid-May, about 700 refugees from Tel Kazakh had fled into Lebanon, and the village of Wadi Khaled in northern Lebanon received another 1,350. With the siege of Jisr al-Shughour, the situation on the Turkish-Syrian border deteriorated and thousands fled in anticipation of a Syrian Army attack. Initially it was reported that about 2,500 Syrians crossed the border. The number of refugees housed in Turkish camps exceed 10,000 by mid June, and was estimated at 8,500 in Lebanon where the total refugee population was estimated at over 20,000. As Syrian troops amassed at the Turkish border, the flow increased to hundreds of refugees a day by 23 June, reaching a total of 11,700 refugees.
By early July over 15,000 Syrians had sought refuge in Turkey. More than 5,000 returned to Syria, leaving around 10,227 Syrian refugees in Turkey. Registered refugees in Lebanon reached 2,600 by the end of August, with thousands more residing in Lebanon illegally. According to Al-Arabiya, some 2,500 Syrians resided in the Wadi Khaled area, down from 5,500 in May. Most of Syrian refugees in the area were Arabs and Bedouins. A humanitarian aid campaign was launched by "Baitulmaal".
Despite the repatriation of many Syrians between July and August, in early September Turkey began setting up six refugee camps – some 6,000 out of initial 15,000 refugees remained in Turkey. By November the number of refugees in Turkey stood at 7,600 and had reached almost 5,000 in Lebanon. By mid-December, the number of refugees in Jordan was around 1,500 registered and possibly thousands more unregistered. By the end of 2011, it was reported that thousands of refugees had found shelter in Libya.
Early in the year Lebanon reported 5,000 refugees and Turkey 9,700. Israel announced preparations to accommodate Alawite Syrian refugees in the Golan Heights, should the Syrian government collapse. Jordan opened a camp for 3,000 refugees. By March, fighting in Homs, and along the Lebanese border, forced 2,000 Syrians to flee into Lebanon, and Turkey reports hundreds of arrivals daily. UN registered refugees in Turkey's Hatay Province reach 13,500 with thousands more elsewhere. Turkish officials anticipated as many as 50,000 new arrivals and begin constructing camps in Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa. Jordan reported as many as 80,000 arrivals and had enrolled 5,000 Syrian students in state schools. Refugees in the Kurdish region of Iraq reached 1,000 and were offered shelter and medical care in Domiz camp. Ethnic Kurdish refugees were offered military training to protect Kurdish-majority territories in Syria.
The April offensive by the Syrian Army, preceding the 10 April ceasefire under the Kofi Annan peace plan, coincided with a peak flow of refugees to Turkey. Over 5,000 arrive on 4–5 April. bringing the total in Turkey to 25,000. Turkey demanded Syria abide by the ceasefire, and more support from the international community. Jordan had upwards of 130,000 refugees by some estimates. 200,000 or more Syrians were internally displaced. By 3 May 171 ethnic Kurds were registered with the UNHCR in Iraqi Kurdistan, and 50 to 70 people arrived daily. In May it was reported that Syrian refugees were being given political asylum and successfully integrated into Colombian society.
By June, refugees in Jordan, concentrated in the northern cities of Mafraq, Irbid, Ramtha, Jerash and Ajlun, reportedly stretched national water resources. In Lebanon UNHCR registered refugees reached 17,000 that same month, with another 26,000 settled elsewhere. Most refugees were reported to be women or children. Turkey reports 24,500 registered refugees.
Over 2 days in July, 19,000 Syrians fled from Damascus into Lebanon, as violence inside the city escalated. The UNHCR reported 35,000 refugees in Jordan, but estimates suggested there were also upward of 140,000 unregistered refugees in that country.
July saw the registered refugee numbers in the Iraqi Kurdish region rise to more than 8,000. Also in July refugee numbers in Lebanon increased to 28,100, and to 43,000 in Turkey. About 1,000 people returned to Syria because of very poor conditions in provisional refugee camps.
In August the first Syrian refugees migrated by sea to the European Union, with 124 arriving in Italy. The UNHCR reported that refugees now exceeded 200,000. By December that number jumped to well over 750,000 with 135,519 in Turkey; 54,000 in Iraqi Kurdistan and about 9,000 in the rest of Iraq; 150,000 in Lebanon 142,000 in Jordan and over 150,000 in Egypt
Displaced refugees relocated to less troubled parts of the Syria. Refugees fled in desperation to escape violence, chaos, and shortages of food, medicine, and other necessities. It became harder for people to find a safe place to settle because 3,000-6,000 refugees left Syria every day and refugee centers filled to capacity.
There is increasing concern about the exploitation of female refugees. Orthodox Christian refugees began to arrive in the United States. In August, there is a sharp increase in refugees entering Bulgaria. Bulgarian refugee centers are at capacity and the government seeks emergency accommodations and asks the EU and Red Cross for aid. At this time the UN confirms that many thousands of refugees flee to Iraqi Kurdistan. The UNHCR estimates that more than 4,600 refugees arrive in Italy by sea this year, two-thirds of whom arrive in August. In September, Sweden becomes the first EU country to grant permanent residency to all asylum seekers, and the right to family reunification, in light of worsening conditions in Syria. Roughly 8,000 Syrian refugees in Sweden are affected by the ruling. The decision is welcomed, but some warn that it may be a boon for people-smuggling operations. In September, countries in South America (mainly Argentina and Brazil) offer refuge to Syrians. More than three hundred refugee families have already arrived in Argentina. Brazil is the first country in the Americas to offer humanitarian visas to refugees. Brazil's embassies in countries neighboring Syria issue travel visas and allow for claims on arrival in Brasil. An estimated 1.5 million Syrians are refugees by year end.
The deteriorating humanitarian situation in neighboring Iraq prompted an influx of Iraqi refugees into north-eastern Syria. By the end of August 2014, the UN estimated 6.5 million people had been displaced within Syria, while more than 3 million had fled to countries such as Lebanon (1.14 million), Jordan (608,000) and Turkey (815,000). "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 António Guterres said at the time. Largely due to the Syrian civil war, the UNHCR reports that the total number of refugees worldwide exceeds 50 million, for the first time since World War II. Tensions rise in Lebanon when the army raids refugee sites in Arsal and 3 person are shot. The Muslim Scholars Committee condemns what it calls human rights abuses saying 'the collective punishment of Syrian refugees cannot be justified," and calling for a 'transparent and impartial investigation of the violations, from the burning of camps to the torturing of detainees in Arsal. 1 million refugees are registered by the UNHCR most of whom are fleeing instability in north eastern Syria caused by ISIS. Jordan receives comparatively fewer refugees this year, due to the relative stability in Southern Syria. In October 2014 Uruguay starts receiving refugees.
Large numbers of refugees cross into the EU and by August there are 313,000 asylum applications across Europe. The largest numbers are recorded in Germany with over 89,000, and Sweden with over 62,000. More than 100,000 refugees cross into the EU in July, and by September over 8,000 refugees cross daily. Syrians form the largest group of refugees to Europe The UNHCR reports that refugee numbers exceed 4,000,000, mostly in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. The response of Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries to the refugee crises come under intense media scrutiny. Claims are made that these countries are not accepting Syrian refugees, while other media outlets report that these countries provide visa extensions and family reunification for Syrians unable to return home. Saudi officials claim the Kingdom has given residency to between 100,000 and 2.5 million Syrians, though these numbers are widely disputed
Under the Dublin Regulation, an asylum applicant in one EU country, must be returned to that country, should they attempt onward migration to another EU country. Hungary is overburdened in 2015 by asylum applications during the European Migrant Crises, to the point that on 23 June its refuses to allow further applicants to be returned by other EU countries. Germany and the Czech Republic suspend the Dublin Regulation for Syrians and start to process their asylum applications directly. On 21 September, EU home affairs and interior ministers approve a plan to accept and redistribute 120,000 asylum seekers (not only Syrians) across the EU. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia opposed the plan and Finland abstains. Poorer countries express concerns about the economic and social cost of absorbing large numbers of refugees. Wealthier countries embrace ethnic diversity and are able to offer more humanitarian assistance.
On 3 September 2015, Alan Kurdi (3 years old), his brother Ghalib Kurdi (5 years old) and their mother drown, as their family attempts to migrate by sea into Europe. The image of Alan Kurdi's body washed up on a Turkish beach becomes a seminal moment in the refugee crises and global response. National debates and media coverage about the Syrian refugee crises increase markedly, bringing considerable attention to the human costs of the Syrian Civil War, the responsibilities of host countries, pressures forcing refugees to migrate from their host countries, people smuggling, and the responsibilities of third countries to resettle refugees. In October, the UN's human rights chief claims the Czech Republic is holding migrants in "degrading" and jail like conditions Also in September, German customs seized packages of fake Syrian passports which police suspect are being sold to non-Syrians seeking asylum in Germany. By 21 December, an estimated 500,000 Syrian refugees have entered Europe, 80 percent arrived by sea, and most land in Greece. Some Syrian refugees have resorted to prostitution as a means of survival, particularly among women and girls.
A factory producing fake lifejackets, made for migrants wanting to cross the Aegean Sea to Greece, is discovered in Turkey. Police seize more than 1,200 fake lifejackets in the factory at Izmir, and arrested four workers including two young Syrian girls. The raid came in the same week that the bodies of more than 30 people wash up on Turkish beaches, having drowned in their attempt to reach Greece. After the agreement of a multibillion-euro deal between the EU and Turkey, Turkish police slightly increase their operations against people involved in the wider smuggling business. On 19 February 2016, Austria imposes restrictions on the number of refugee entries. Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia announced that just 580 refugees a day will be allowed through their borders. As a result, large numbers of Syrian refugees are stuck in Greece. There are fears that Greece won't be able to cope with the thousands stranded in the reception centres scattered across the mainland and the islands of Lesbos, Kos and Chios.
According to Amnesty International, Turkish guards routinely shoot at Syrian refugees stranded at the border, also, Turkey has forcibly returned thousands of Syrian refugees to war zone since mid-January 2016.
On 10 May 2016, Human Rights Watch said Turkish border guards were shooting and beating Syrian refugees trying to reach Turkey, resulting in deaths and serious injuries. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan denied it.
On 18 May 2016, lawmakers from the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) have said that Turkey should not use Syrian refugees as a bribe for the process of visa liberalization for Turkish citizens inside the European Union.
On 3 June 2016, a Turkish cleaner working at the Nizip Camp in Gaziantep, Turkey, was sentenced to 108 years imprisonment for sexually abusing Syrian boys. He did not deny the charges, but said many employees and managers in the camps were involved. He also admitted that he paid the children around 2-5 Turkish lira ($0.70-$1.70) before assaulting them in the toilets, the victims were between ages 8 to 12.
At the night of 18 June 2016, according to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces Turkish security forces killed several Syrian refugees who attempted to cross the border into Turkey. The Turkish Foreign Ministry denied the claims.
After the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt in July 2016, Greek authorities on a number of Aegean Islands have called for emergency measures to curtail a growing flow of refugees from Turkey, the number of migrants and refugees willing to make the journey across the Aegean has increased noticeably. At Athens officials voiced worries that Turkish monitors overseeing the deal in Greece had been abruptly pulled out after the failed coup with little sign of them being replaced. Also, the mayor of Kos, expressed concern in a letter to the Greek Prime Minister citing the growing influx of refugees and migrants after the failed coup. The Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) warned about the prospect of another flare-up in the refugee/migrant crisis due to the Turkish political instability.
In FY 2016, when the US dramatically increased the number of refugees admitted from Syria, the US let in 12,587 refugees from the country. 99% were Muslims (with few Shia Muslims admitted). Less than 1% where Christian according to the Pew Research Center analysis of State Department Refugee Processing Center data. The religious breakdown of Syria's 17.2 million people is approximately 74% Sunni Islam, 13% Alawi, Ismaili and Shia Islam, 10% Christian and 3% Druze.
On 21 January 2017, the Syrian foreign minister Walid Muallem, called on the country's refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq to return home. Walid Muallem "renewed the invitation of the government to Syrian refugees living in neighboring countries to return to their country" and that the minister "has stressed the country was ready to receive them and grant them a dignified life", according to a statement released by the Syrian Arab News Agency, as Muallem met with the High Commissioner of the UNHCR Filippo Grandi in Damascus.
On 27 January 2017, new US President Donald Trump announced that he has signed an executive order suspending any further resettlement of Syrian refugees to the United States indefinitely until further notice due to security concerns (excluding " refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality" which could include Christians, Shia Muslims and Yazidis in Syria). It will resume once an enhanced security screening procedure is implemented. Two days before signing the executive order, President Trump said that he is interested in establishing safe zones in Syrian territory, allowing refugees to live there while fleeing violence and stated that the European countries have "made a tremendous mistake by admitting millions of refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern trouble spots" during the 2015 European migrant crisis.
While some supports advocate that Donald Trump's new suspension of resettlement was done to help protect the safety of the United States, a large portion are skeptical of the long-term results of the suspension. According to two former secretaries of state, two former heads of the CIA, a former secretary of defense, a former secretary of homeland security, and senior officials of the National Security Council, the suspension can be described as "ill-conceived, poorly implemented and ill-explained." This group of critics even includes two prominent Republicans, Michael Hayden and John McLaughlin. They key argument of the critics is that, since September 11, 2001, there have been no terrorist attacks in the U.S. that have been caused by any of the people banned by the order. In addition, they say that the suspension could compromise U.S. troops fighting overseas and that it provides propaganda for terrorist organizations like ISIS, as it allows them to proclaim that the U.S. has anti-Islam tendencies. Currently, the U.S. 9th Circuit Cout of Appeals has said that the travel ban is not constitutional, but Trump has stated he will continue to try and make it a reality.
|Donor||Funding to December 2015 (in USD)|
Figures above are donations to international organizations as compiled by the Financial Tracking Service, of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Not included are: government spending on domestic hosting and resettlement. Private donations are from individuals and organizations. United Nation's donations are from unearmarked funds not attributable to specific member states. Figures for Turkey include expenditures not tracked by the FTS.
Financial aid from government, non-government, and private donors to support Syrian refugees is largely channeled through established aid organizations, and national government agencies. These organizations and agencies deliver aid directly to refugees in the form of food, education, housing, clothing and medical care, along with migration and resettlement services. Complete figures for aid delivery since 2011 are not available. The table below shows cumulative known aid delivered by the largest aid organizations, between April 2011 and December 2015
The 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.
Countries bordering Syria
Jordan – As of June 2015, there were 628,427 registered Syrian refugees in Jordan. However, a Jordanian census performed in November 2015 showed that there are 1.4 million Syrian refugees residing in the country, meaning that more than 50% of Syrian refugees in Jordan are unregistered. A report done by the World Bank in 2016 revealed that the Syrian refugee influx to Jordan has cost the kingdom more than $2.5 billion a year which amounts to about 6% of Jordan's GDP and about a quarter of the government annual revenues. Promised international aid has fallen several hundreds of millions of dollars short of the total cost. This has caused the kingdom's public debt to swell to 95% of its GDP in 2016 and has severely crippled the growth of its economy. The majority of the refugees in Jordan live in the local communities rather than refugee camps, which had added a large strain on the country's infrastructure, particularly towns in northern Jordan adjacent to the Syrian border.
Lebanon – As of 31 March 2016, Lebanon hosted 1,048,275 registered refugees from Syria, 53% of them children. The Lebanese government chose not to establish camps for people fleeing the civil war in Lebanon, and thus they have settled throughout country. While most of them rent their accommodations in around 1,700 locations countrywide, nearly a fifth (18%) live in non-formal settlements—mostly concentrated in border governorates. Because the government of Lebanon has increasingly made it difficult for refugees from Syria to renew their residency permits, the number of households in which all members are legally in the country has dropped from 58% in 2014 to 29% in 2015. Refugee households living below the poverty line increased from 49% in 2014 to 70% in 2015. Families survive by borrowing money whenever they can. The percentage of refugee households with debt jumped from 70% in 2013 to 89% in 2015. Despite their struggling status, the Lebanese Forces Party, the Kataeb Party and the Free Patriotic Movement fear the country's sectarian-based political system is being undermined.
Iraq – As of February 2016, Iraq hosts 245,543 refugees. Several refugee camps exist in northern Iraq. The government in Iraqi Kurdistan is currently hosting Syrian refugees of ethnic Kurdish origins.
Israel – Israel has a border with Syria's Golan Heights (disputed). However, in the wake of the European migrant crisis in 2015, the current government has refused to offer any resettlement places to refugees. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "We will not allow Israel to be submerged by a wave of illegal migrants and terrorist activists." 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. On January 2017, the Israeli interior ministry announced that they will resettle around 100 unaccompanied Syrian refugee children. They will be given temporary residency status and will have full rights same to an Israeli citizen. The report also said that the Israeli government was even willing to promise the UN that after four years, the resettled refugees will be given permanent residency - allowing them to say in Israel for a lifetime period.
Turkey – As of February 2016, Turkey hosts 2,688,686 registered refugees. About 30% live in 22 government-run camps near the Syrian border. Turkey is home to the highest number of Syrian refugees and has provided over $8,000,000,000 in aid. Financial aid from other countries has been limited, though €3,200,000,000 was promised by the EU in November 2015. The promise is still fulfilled.
Countries outside Syria
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. Ethnic Armenians in Syria have been fleeing to their historic Armenia homelands. The Cilician school was established to provide education specifically for Syrian-Armenian refugee children. with support from the governments of Kuwait and Austria.
As of 6 October 2016, there were 20,000 refugees, primarily ethnic Armenians in the country. In addition another 38 Armenian families (about 200 people) resettled in the de facto independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as of 2013. Three Kurdish Yazidi families have also found refuge in Armenia. Armenia is home to a Kurdish Yazidi community, currently numbering 35,000.
Egypt – Egypt, which does not border Syria, became a major destination for Syrian refugees since 2012 following the election of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Before President Morsi's overthrow, they were an estimated between 70,000 and 100,000 Syrian refugees living in the country. However following the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état aftermath, Syrian refugees living there were met with hostility by Egyptians, accusing them of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, since the group has close relations with the Syrian opposition and the Free Syrian Army.
However, a study by Egyptian foreign affairs ministry has estimated that the country has hosted around 500,000 Syrian refugees since the start of the conflict. Egypt's assistant foreign minister Hisham Badr blamed the refugee influx over the EU-Turkey deal and Egypt hasn't received enough assistance from foreign governments to reduce the refugee influx, which he claims is currently costing the government around US$300 million a year. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has also said that his country received around 500,000 Syrian refugees without "media shows". President al-Sisi said that his government doesn’t abuse refugees, adding that many international organisations stopped receiving refugees, causing an increase in the numbers and that his government still receives refugees despite Egypt facing an economic crisis.
Onward migration and resettlement
Argentina – Argentina decided in September 2013 to offer refuge to thousands of displaced Syrians. As of August 2013, more than three hundred refugee families have already arrived in Argentina. In 2016, as a result of the intensifying conflict in Syria, Argentina offered to accept 3,000 refugees.
Australia – In October 2015, Australia announced that it would accept 12,000 Syrian refugees. By February 2016, Australia had settled 26 refugees. By September 2016, 3,532 people had been resettled, with a further 3,146 visas issued. In addition, another 6,293 people were undergoing health, character and security checks after undergoing interviews.
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. As of November 2015, there are 3,000 Syrian refugees in Brazil.
Bulgaria – Bulgaria welcomes refugees when in transit to Germany to apply for refugee status. 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. For the period of January–July 2015, there were estimated 9,200 asylum applications to Bulgaria with average acceptance rate remaining the same as in the previous year.
Canada – In July 2013, Canada promised to resettle 1,300 refugees by 2015 and pledged $100 million in humanitarian aid. "No more than 10 [refugees had] arrived in Canada." by March 2014, the government agreed to resettle 11,300 refugees by the end of 2017, and then 10,000 by September 2016. Before the 2015 general election, the newly elected government promised to bring 25,000 refugees by the end of 2015. After the election, the newly formed government failed to meet its self-imposed deadline and it was moved to February 2016 and began further screening in the aftermath of the 2015 Paris attacks. Canadians have expressed considerable interest in receiving refugees and Canadian politicians and business leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met the first two flights on 10 and 13 December 2015. To date Canada has arranged 96 flights to airlift refugees from their host countries, welcomed 35,000 refugees into 275 communities across the country, and agreed to resettle 35-50,000 refugees by the end of 2016. Resettlement arrangements for additional refugees and social integration of arriving refugees is ongoing. The cost over the next six years is estimated between C$564 to C$678 million. The Prime Minister stated that the most vulnerable would be accepted first, including families, children and members of the LGBT communities. Among the Syrian refugees accepted for resettlement are thousands of ethnic Armenians. On 27 February 2016 Canada met its goal of resettling 25,000 Syrian refugees. Canada continues to process applications and has accepted 40,081 refugees from November 2015 to January 2017.
Colombia – Colombia accepts refugees that have asked for asylum within Colombia. The refugees are registered with the UNHCR in Bogotá, and receive aid from Pastoral Social, a Colombian NGO that works closely with the UNHCR.
Croatia – Croatia welcomes refugees when in transit 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". Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and First Deputy Prime Minister Vesna Pusić rejected option of building a fence on Croatian border with Serbia. 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". Croatia closed its border with Serbia on 19 October 2015 due to "overwhelming numbers".
Denmark - In September 2015 public concerns remained about the arrival of refugees, and was shifting to concern over the immediate issues revolving around those already in Denmark.
France - In November 2015, President François Hollande reaffirmed France's commitment to accept 30,000 refugees over two years, despite concerns arising from the November 2015 Paris attacks a few days earlier. His announcement drew a standing ovation from a gathering of French mayors.
Germany – In 2013, Germany received 11,851 asylum requests by Syrians, in 2014 the number more than tripled to 39,332. The German Federal Minister of the Interior estimated in March 2015, that some 105,000 Syrian refugees have been accepted by Germany. By June 2015, 161,435 Syrians resided in Germany, of which 136,835 had entered after January 2011. After suspending the Dublin rules for Syrian refugees, the numbers increased to the point of stressing Germany's infrastructure and logistic capabilities. From January to July 2015, the Federal office for migration and refugees received 42,100 requests for asylum. By the end of 2015, the figure had reached 158,657. 96% of the asylum requests were approved. It is estimated that 300,000 Syrian refugees are in the country. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has 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." German Chancellor Angela Merkel decided to let all Syrians enter the country but had to stop train travel to/from Austria to control the numbers arriving. At Munich's main railway station, thousands of Germans applauded Syrians as they arrived in September. The German police force announced on 22 October 2015 that they had prevented a planned attack on a refugee home in Bamberg by a right-wing extremist group. They also said there had been nearly 600 attacks on refugee homes in 2015, a sharp rise from 2014. As well, 19-39,000 (depending on estimates) of members of the German right-wing Pegida movement rallied on 19 October 2015 in Dresden against accepting refugees. Some 14-20,000 other individuals held a counterrally in the city. On New Year's morning 2016, a group of about a thousand male migrants of North African or Arab descent sexually assaulted 600 females in Cologne. Angela Merkel's openness towards refugees was criticized and 61% of respondents in an INSA poll reported they were less happy about accepting refugees after the assaults. German feminist Alice Schwarzer said that the policy is causing Germany to have open doors for male violence, sexism, and antisemitism.
Greece – Greece welcomes refugees when in transit to Germany to apply for refugee status. In 2015, there were 385,525 arrivals by sea. It is estimated that only 8% of arrivals (31,000 Syrian refugees) applied for asylum in Greece, as most are in transit further into Europe. 15,000-17,000 refugees had landed on Lesbos island by September 2015, overwhelming the resources and generosity of local residents. Many refuges also make landfall at Agathonisi, Farmakonisi, Kos, Lemnos, Leros, Rhodes, Chios, Samos, Symi, Kastellorizo and other islands near Turkey. Some arrive via the Evros border crossing from Turkey. On 19 February 2016 Austria imposed restrictions on the number of refugees entering the country followed by Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia, of just 580 arrivals a day. As a result, large numbers of Syrian refugees and migrants from other countries are stuck in Greece. On 22 February 2016 at an emergency summit on the migrant crisis in Brussels it was agreed that another 100,000 spaces in refugee reception centres will be created. 50,000 spaces in Greece and another 50,000 spaces in Balkan countries. Given that 2 – 3,000 migrants arrive in Greece every day, these 100,000 spaces look inadequate.
Hungary – Hungary welcomes refugees when in transit to Germany to apply for refugee status. In the summer of 2015, Hungary was deeply affected by the migration crisis. In December, Hungary challenged EU plans to share asylum seekers across EU states at the European Court of Justice. The border has been closed since 15 September 2015, with razor wire fence along its southern borders, particularly Croatia, and by blocking train travel. The government believes that "illegal migrants" are job-seekers, threats to security and likely to "threaten our culture". There have been cases of immigrants and ethnic minorities being attacked. The country has conducted wholesale deportations of refugees, who are generally considered to be allied with ISIL. Refugees are outlawed and almost all are ejected.
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.
Japan – Japan has refused to offer any resettlement places to Syrian refugees because "the ministry insisted that, fleeing conflict is not a definition of a refugee as codified in the refugee convention". 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. 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.
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 the most affected European countries by migration crisis, along with Hungary, Serbia, Italy and Greece.
Malaysia – In October 2015, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that at least 3,000 Syrian refugees would be resettled in the country. Malaysia is the first Muslim-majority country to make this offer. Mr. Najib stated that Muslim countries were partly responsible for ensuring the well-being of the marginalized Syrians fleeing their country in massive numbers, causing social and economic stresses in Europe, during the migrant crisis. The first batch of refugees arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on December 11, 2015 on a flight arriving from Istanbul, Turkey. The second batch of 68 Syrian refugees arrived at the Subang Air Force Base (outside of Kuala Lumpur) from Beirut, Lebanon on May 2016.
Netherlands – The government condemned the fire bombing of an immigrant reception centre in October 2015. In the small town of Geldermalsen, over 2,000 protested immigration in mid December 2015.
Poland –Poland has accepted 150 mostly Christian refugees. A large anti-migration/Syrian refugee rally occurred in Katowice in September 2015. Various centre right, far right, and conservative parties won Parliamentary elections on platforms demanding a halt to refugee quotas.
Romania – The European Commission asked Romania to accept 6,351 refugees under an EU quota scheme. Bloomberg News reported that "Romania’s government will call on the EU 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."
Russia – gave $24 million for refugees. and granted asylum to over 1,000. About 5,000 refugees have settled in Russia since 2012. Five hundred Christian refugees settled in Sochi. Circassians in Syria have been returning to their historic homelands in Circassia. The Chechen and Ossetian diasporas in Syria have also sought to return to their Caucasus homelands.
Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia has offered resettlement only 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 and has sent aid worth $280 million to help Syrian refugees. Saudi Arabia, like all of the Gulf states, is not a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention. According to the Saudi official, Saudi Arabia had issued residency permits to 100,000 Syrians. The BBC reported that "most successful cases are Syrians already in Gulf states extending their stays, or those entering because they have family there." Amnesty International reported that Saudi Arabia has not actually offered any resettlement specifically to refugees. They are not classified as refugees.
Serbia – Serbia welcomes refugees when in transit to western Europe to apply for refugee status. In August 2015, Vučić said that Serbia will do anything to help these people on their way to better life. 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 Syrian refugees and Croatian Serb refugees "who also had to leave their homes 20 years ago", positing that because Serbs suffered then, they understand the problems that the refugees face.
Slovenia – Originally, Slovenia welcomed refugees when in transit 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.
Slovakia – Slovakia has refused to accept refugees from Turkey (who are nearly all Syrians), although in December 2015 it did voluntarily accept 500 asylum seekers on a temporary basis and 149 Assyrian Christian families who came via Iraq The Slovak government has threatened lawsuits against the EU because of the controversial refugee quota system which requires Slovakia to accept just under 2,300 migrants.
South Korea – South Korea has refused to offer any resettlement places to refugees. The number of Syrian refugees who have applied for asylum in South Korea number 918 in total since 1994, expected to grow to over 1,000 by the end of 2015. There were only 3 applicants before 2011, but the number greatly increased due to the Syrian Civil War in 2011. At the end of September 2015, the Ministry of Justice in South Korea said there are 848 Syrian asylum seekers in South Korea. Of those, 3 asylum seekers were accepted as refugees, which is an acceptance rate of less than 0.3%. 631 people were permitted their residence on humanitarian grounds, 9 people decided not to accept refugee status and 75 withdrew their application; in total, 718 people had their status determined. The remaining 130 Syrians are still having their status determined. South Korea has been giving aid to Syrian refugees for a few years. The Korean government and NGOs provided support to set up about 2,000 refugee tents in Zaatari, Jordan. There are small parts called 'Korean villages' in the camp, where refugees can learn 'Taekwondo', Korean martial arts and can enrol in some education programs. The Korean government said that "it has spent $27 million in aiding refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and South Sudan etc. in 2015".
Sweden – In September 2013, Swedish migration authorities ruled that all 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. The number of Syrian nationals settling in Sweden under refugee status was 2,943 in 2012, 9,755 in 2013, and 18,827 in 2014, summing up to a total increase of 31,525 refugees during this period. Additionally, another 9,028 Syrians 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. As of October 2015, 38,636 Syrian nationals have applied for asylum during 2015.
Switzerland – In March 2012, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights made a request to Switzerland to accept some Syrian refugees, and the Swiss government announced that it was considering the request. In March 2015, the Swiss Federal Council set a goal of accepting 3,000 Syrian refugees over three years. By September 2015, 5,000 Syrian refugees had received provisional permission to live in Switzerland, and an additional 2,000 had submitted asylum applications and were pending.
Turkey – Under Turkish law, Syrian refugees cannot apply for resettlement but only temporary protection status. Registering for temporary protection status gives access to state services such as health and education, as well as the right to apply for a work permit in certain geographic areas and professions. Over a third of urban refugees are not registered. Currently, 30% of Syrian refugee children have access to education, 4,000 businesses have been opened, and several Syrian refugee camps have grown into small towns with amenities from healthcare to barber shops. Over 13 million Syrians received aid from the Turkish Aid Agency (AFAD). Turkey has spent more than any other country on Syrian refugee aid, and has also been subject to criticism for opening refugee camps on the Syrian side of the border. Syriac Christians have been allowed to return to their historic homeland in Tur Abdin, Turkey. Up to 300,000 Syrian refugees living in Turkey could be given citizenship under a plan to keep wealthy and educated Syrians in the country.
United Kingdom – The UK has so far granted asylum to 5,102 refugees of whom 216 have been actively resettled. The stance of its government has been severely criticised by human rights groups. In September, the government announced plans to accept 20,000 refugees over a period of 5 years, taken from refugee camps in Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan. In May 2015, a YouGov poll commissioned by British charity Islamic Relief showed that 42% of respondents said Britain should not take in foreign nationals fleeing conflict or persecution in their own countries, up sharply on 2014. The poll also showed that terrorism was associated with Muslims, with the words "terror", "terrorist" or "terrorism" chosen by 12% of respondents, ahead of other options like faith (11%), mosque (9%), Koran (8%) and religious (8%). Prime Minister David Cameron described Syrian refugees coming to the UK as a "swarm", and later said he would not "allow people to break into our country". The Foreign Secretary also said refugees were "marauding" around Calais. Amnesty International and opposition party leadership have criticized these statements by the government. On 4 September 2015, Cameron pledged that the UK would accept "thousands" more Syrian refugees. Wimbledon UKIP candidate Peter Bucklitsch, sparked online outrage amongst Twitter users on 3 September 2015 when he stated deceased Syrian refugee child Aylan Al-Kurdi was "well clothed & well fed", and blamed his parents for the death. He stated Aylan died because his parents were "greedy for the good life in Europe". High-profile figures such as Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and former footballer Stan Collymore denounced the remarks. He apologised online the next day. A statement a day later contained an apology from Buckslitsch. He described his tweet as "inelegant" and stated that blaming parents was probably "not ... the best response."
United States – In August 2016, the U.S. reached its goal of admitting and resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees, most of whom were admitted to the U.S. in the previous three months. Syrians made up only a small fraction (2%) of total U.S. refugee intake in the fiscal year 2015. According the United States Department of State Refugee Admissions Report dated December 2016, the US admitted 1,682 Syrian refugees in Fiscal Year 2015 (year ending Sept 2015), 12,587 in FY 2016 (15% of total worldwide refugee admissions into the US in FY 2016) and 3,566 Syrian refugees for the period October through December 2016.
Following the November 2015 Paris attacks, thirty-one state governments (all but one led by a Republican governor) protested the admission of Syrian refugees to their states, with some seeking to block their admission. These governors' efforts to block Syrian refugees have been unsuccessful in court, and most but not all of the governors "seem to have quietly dropped the matter."
The U.S. government has provided $4.5 billion to aid Syrian refugees as of late December 2015.
Following the November 2016 election victory of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States, his new administration is calling for an end on the Syrian refugee resettlement program and his plans to deport Syrian refugees already resettled by the Obama administration. During his election campaign, Trump has on several occasions expressed opposition to allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S. — saying they could be the "ultimate Trojan horse". On 27 January, President Trump signed an executive order halting Syrian refugee admissions to the United States indefinitely until further notice. Christians who are fleeing religious persecution in Syria are given priority. Despite news reports mentioning exemptions for Christians, the actual text of the Executive Order covering seven countries makes no mention of Christians or Shia Muslims (both religious minorities in Syria), but merely states an intention,"... to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality."
For the Syrian refugees admitted into the US in FY 2016, 99% have been Muslim, primarily Sunni Islam, according to Pew Research analysis of State Department data; while 10% of the country is Christian according to the CIA Factbook. According to UNHRC stats, Christians make up 0% - 2.5% of the refugees allowed into and processed in Syrian refugee populations such as Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt (Turkey does not track the religion of refugees).
The state of religious persecution in the country is described by the State Department, "In Syria, the Assad regime increased its targeting and surveillance of members of a variety of faith groups it deemed a “threat,” especially members of the country’s Sunni majority. This occurred concurrently with the escalation of violent extremist activity targeted against religious minorities, including Christians, Druze, Alawites, and others as the current civil war continues. Larges cale internal and external displacement of all sectors of the population is ongoing" 
- Afghan refugees
- Refugees of Iraq
- Refugees of the 2011 Libyan Civil War
- Spillover of the Syrian Civil War
- European migrant crisis
- Vietnamese boat people
[a].^ Data as of February 2016, unless otherwise noted; includes estimated cross-border arrivals, UNHCR registered refugees, asylum applicants, worker visa overstays and resettled refugees. Does not include foreign citizens leaving Syria.
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