A Warm Welcome and a Not So Warm Welcome for Syrian Refugees

by DanyStefan on February 8, 2016 - 9:05pm

The Syrian refugee crisis has been a long going humanitarian problem in which many countries around the world are offering their aid to help the numerous Syrians fleeing their country. This crisis has emerged back in 2011, when a civil war has begun between the Syrian rebel forces and Assad’s government forces. With the emergence of the terrorist group ISIS, it has only accentuated the departure of many Syrian refugees (“Syria: The story of the conflict.”). Since the civil war, more than 4.1 million Syrians were forced to flee their country in hope of sustaining better life conditions elsewhere (Martinez). This crisis has opened many countries to welcome desperate fleeing migrants, while some countries have not yet given any or little support to help Syrians in need. As Michael Martinez reports for CNN in his article Syrian refugees: Which countries welcome them, which ones don't, “The expanding Syrian refugee crisis highlights the differences among countries that welcome desperate migrants and those that don't”. Why are the wealthiest states refusing asylum requests from Syria, while the poorest countries welcome numerous refugees?


Looking at the neighbouring countries to Syria, Turkey has received the most refugees, close to 2 million, and has become the primary destination for children and teens, where 14% of them have been sheltered in camps. Lebanon with 1.1 million migrants has seen its population increase by 25%. Jordan has sheltered about 20% of Syrians, however, the challenge remains to preserve the country’s land for asylum space (Martinez). Surprisingly, the Persian Gulf countries in the Middle East have refused any incoming refugees, with the exception of the United Arab Emirates with 250,000. In 1951, haven’t participated in the U.N. treaty on refugees, the Gulf nations now feel no obligation to accept asylum requests, in fear that new arrivals will take away jobs from current citizens and the question about security and terrorism has surfaced (Tharoor).


In Europe, Germany is faced with the most incoming Syrian requests and is set to take in close to 500,000 applications annually in the next several years. Sweden follows Germany’s steps by welcoming 65,000 refugees because they believe that every human has the right to seek refuge. According to Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister, Margot Wallstrom stated "This also puts the European solidarity to a test. I think it's important that we signal being a community that rests on common values of democracy and defense of human rights" (qtd. in Martinez). Based on the Swedish world view, in concordance with the function of a world view to integrate culture, every country must stand on their core democratic values to provide humanitarian aid to the refugees in need of shelter, food and medical care, in opposition to the Gulf nations’ world view. As for the rest of Europe, it is said that their leaders plan on accommodating more Syrians in next upcoming years.


In conclusion, the poorest countries mostly situated around Syria are receiving the most Syrian refugees due to geographical reasons. As for Europe, advancements will be made to accept more incoming asylum requests, however, the challenge, like for all countries, is to be able to control and contain the mass flux of migrants. Finally, the wealthier countries, such as the Gulf countries and the United States, fear reduction of current job employment of their citizens, as well as, for security reasons, terrorism acts.



Works Cited:


Martinez, Michael. “Syrian refugees: Which countries welcome them, which ones don't.” CNN. CNN, 10 September 2015. Web. 7 February 2016.


“Syria: The story of the conflict.” BBC. BBC News Services, 3 February 2016. Web. 7 February 2016.


Tharoor, Ishaan. “The Arab world’s wealthiest nations are doing next to nothing for Syria’s refugees.” The Washington Post. washingtonpost.com, 4 September 2015. Web. 7 February 2016.





The migrant crisis is indeed an issue that is putting a lot of pressure on the nations surrounding Syria, like Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey who have themselves allowed millions of refugee with a safer home, at least a refuge. It is absolutely self-centered of the European and Persian Gulf countries to refuse access to the millions of fleeing for safety. Although the migrant crisis represents the largest amount of migrant population since World War II, the entire flow of migrants since 2011 represent merely 0.55% of the entire European population and such asking the world to reorganize and accept to provide shelter is not an inconceivable thing. If a poor countries can intake 25% of it's population in migrant, Europe, the States, Canada and other wealthy countries can certainly lend their hand to tackle this issue of global responsibility.