Migration Policy Institute
No End in Sight: The Worsening Syrian Refugee Crisis
Simon Henshaw, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, U.S. Department of State
Anastasia Brown, Director of Resettlement Services,U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Chair, Refugee Council USA
Erol Kekic, Director, Immigration and Refugee Program, Church World Service, and Delegation Member, Refugee Council USA
Kathleen Newland, Director of the Refugee Protection and Humanitarian Response Program, Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
Each day brings a new story of migrants fleeing their current situation in the Middle East and North Africa, and an increasing number of these are refugees from Syria, desperate for new opportunities and willing to risk their life by undertaking a dangerous journey, often facilitated by smugglers.
To date, almost 4 million refugees have fled the Syrian civil war, the vast majority seeking shelter in Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon, but with growing numbers also moving to Egypt and Northern Iraq. These countries are facing their own security challenges and the growing threat of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS). Jordan and Lebanon, especially, are nearing a breaking point in terms of being able to handle such huge numbers in relation to their own populations. Delegations from Refugee Council USA and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have recently visited the region, where they spoke with Syrian refugees and documented the pressures on refugees and their host communities. At this briefing, they report on their findings (Refuge & Hope in the Time of ISIS: The Urgent Need for Protection, Humanitarian Support, and Durable Solutions in Turkey, Bulgaria, and Greece and At the Breaking Point: Refugees in Jordan and Egypt) on the space for protection in the region. Also joining the panel is Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Simon Henshaw, whose portfolio in the Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration includes Syrian refugees. He reported on recent developments in the region and in the U.S. humanitarian response.