Migration Policy Institute
Syrians on the Edge: The Status of Refugees in Neighboring Countries
Fuat Oktay, Director General, Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Presidency (AFAD) of the Republic of Turkey
Oytun Orhan, Project Coordinator and Researcher, ORSAM
Peri-Khan Aqrawi-Whitcomb, Junior Research Fellow, Middle East Research Institute
Faysal Itani, Resident Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, Atlantic Council
Saban Kardas, President, ORSAM
Kathleen Newland, Director of the Migrants, Migration, and Development Program, Migration Policy Institute
More than 3 million Syrians have fled their homeland to become refugees in neighboring countries. A report by ORSAM evaluates the effect of the Syrian crisis on Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. ORSAM’s project team visited each country and after six months of field research, found that women and children account for more than 75 percent of the refugees, making education in particular a devastating issue for the next generation of Syrians. In addition, Syrian emigrants settle not only in camps but also in cities, raising prices and lowering wages all along the Syrian borders.
The report, publicly released at an MPI briefing, evaluates the social and economic impact of Syrian refugees in Turkey, and the response of Turkey’s state-run relief agency AFAD. Jordan, a perennial refugee haven, has more experience but fewer resources, and relies on support from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. In Lebanon, refugee tent cities are not officially recognized and are plagued by poor conditions and lack of education for child refugees. Lastly, Iraq’s Kurdish regional government has taken a leading role in supporting refugees there.
The report makes the case that because of the heavy financial and social costs, Syrian displacement is not merely a problem for Syria or even the greater Middle East; the destabilization is a global problem requiring significant outreach to the global community.