Date
18 December 2017
Two Kurdish boys wait in a refugee camp in a Syrian border town for a host country to take them. Photo: Reuters
Two Kurdish boys wait in a refugee camp in a Syrian border town for a host country to take them. Photo: Reuters

Neighbors closing doors to Syrian refugees

Overwhelmed by the influx of refugees, Syria’s neighbors are cutting back sharply on the number of Syrians they accept, two humanitarian agencies said Thursday, Reuters reported.

The number of refugees from the country’s civil war fell 88 percent to 18,453 in October compared with last year’s monthly average of over 150,000, the International Rescue Committee and the Norwegian Refugee Council reported.

“Humanitarian organizations have repeatedly warned that the capacities of the host communities have been stretched to the limits and argued for better international burden-sharing,” said Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian non-governmental organization.

While Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq have taken in more than three million Syrians since the war began in 2011, countries outside the region have agreed to accept about 50,000, or less than 2 percent of the refugees.

The agencies called on other countries to support Syria’s neighbors financially and take in at least 5 percent of all Syrian refugees.

“More refugees have been displaced from Syria in the last month than have been resettled outside the region in the last three years,” said David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee and a former British foreign minister.

“It is a depressing failure of international solidarity and should spur the world’s wealthier countries into action.”

Should other countries accept more Syrian refugees, or should they treat it as a matter for those in the region?

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CG/FL 

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