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Syrian Refugees Crisis! What’s the real story!

written by Sam Koubbi 2015-09-15


Syrian Refugees Crisis!  What’s the real story!


Lately the wave of Syrian refugees arriving at Europe fleeing their home country; which is being completely destroyed by the revolution against the tyrant Bachar’s regime, created a stir in the media around Europe and the world. For nearly five years, rebellious groups in Syria are fighting Bachar’s army in order to topple him and end his era thus gaining control of their country. In the process of rebelling against the regime and the increasing intensity of the war, it is obvious that civilians who cannot be part of the war have to flee the war zone for their own safety. Therefore, they are forced to become refugees and travel to other host countries. This is briefly what the main story is about; plain and simple.


For ordinary citizens of any given country, the story is what we see and what we are told by the media. The question is: is there more to the story than we are actually told? Are the facts really facts or just chosen ones for us to understand really the whole truth about the crisis? Are we being programmed or guided to understand the story the way media wants us to believe? 


In this short series of articles, we will be looking at the Syrian refugee crisis from various angles (humanitarian, political, social and economical) and with as much facts and truth as possible so that when we try to construct an opinion or point of view about the crisis, it will as much as close to the truth as possible. 


Being a Muslim and a Moroccan, who spent half of his life living in London (UK), allows me to see the crisis from all sides, with Muslim as well as western understanding. I will try to present the full story without any bias or favouritism to any side. It’s for you to know and for you to make your own opinion.


The first aspect of the crisis and the most relevant to us as ordinary citizens is the humanitarian. We are all humans and we care for each other in one way or another. Syria is bleeding and the civil war has claimed the life of over 220,000 lives according to UN latest figures; including elderly, children, women, and fighters. All along the history of wars, there has been always a flux of refugees towards other safe countries. Syrian war is no different. For the five years of the unrest, the war has created over 4 million refugees out of a population of 23 millions. This means that since the war has started, 4 millions of Syrians were forced to leave their country. It is becoming one of the worst refugee crisis of modern history.


Now let’s look at the crisis from the European point of view. The last few months, an outcry started in the media regarding the Syrian refugees and their arrival at the European borders. Their risked their lives, crossed the Mediterranean Sea, or taking the long land trip around North Africa. The flow of Syrian refugees into Europe was considered normal since there were only few hundreds arriving per month. However, with the sudden surge of the number of refugees, European governments started ringing alarm bells about the situation. It has in fact intensified the last few weeks with more arrivals, which created the whole mess in Hungary. 


Some governments have treated the situation as a sordid threat to their lives and most importantly their economy and social system, others have been clever to play heroes and embrace the crisis. No matter what stance you take towards the situation, we are being herded and our politicians are playing with our feelings and our conscience in order to make us satisfied with their decisions and prove that they are worthy leaders.

Since the last surge of refugees into Europe, I think that the total number of refugees waiting to get into Europe is around 40,000 according to the European commission. The commission also agreed to take in a precedent of another 120,000 refugees spread around Europe following set quotas for every country. This could be seen as a huge humanitarian aid from Europe to Syrians.


Let’s look at the reaction of some governments and European leaders then we will make an interesting comparison. Bear in mind I am not including the reaction of ordinary citizens simply because of two reasons. Firstly, the citizens of any country have the right to react anyway they want because it’s their country and they are free to accept the situation or refuse it or act the way they want, it’s their right and it has to be respected unconditionally even if the reaction is illogical or immoral, it is beyond questioning. Finally, as mentioned earlier, it is a sad fact that the media controls our opinions and how we see things whether we accept it or not.


To make it short I am going to list few reactions from various politicians and countries:


  • Angela Merkel was the first to react positively towards the crisis by accepting refugees and give them hope n help. She was hailed as the heroine of the Syrian refugees or the saviour!  Therefore Germany agreed to take in few thousands of the refugees. The media hailed Angela Merkel as saving Syrian refugees. She is doing something HUGE for the refugees thus giving Europe an example how to deal with the crisis. She then makes a speech about how great her decision was, and the amplitude of her action and goes out to say that Germans will remind Syrians of the help they were given even though Arab countries are closer and better placed to help. Germany according to the European commission quota will take in 31,500 refugees over the next few years. 
  • France just announced that it agreed to take in 24,000 refugees by 2017 or 2018.
  • UK agreed to take in about 20,000 refugees in the next five years.
  • Other countries have agreed to their quotas with few conditions.


The fast pace of how events unfolded upon European citizens, created a sense of surprise and overwhelm. Europeans could not understand what was going on and what is happening with few thousands of foreigners knocking on their doors. It’s understandable to have mixed reactions and different feelings about the whole situation. However, to really understand what is going on, we need to know full picture of the refugee crisis and other facts that has never been mentioned in the European media.


Reading through this article, I would expect readers to ask one simple question which the key to understand everything: If up to now there are 4 million refugees who fled Syria, and there are only 40,000 in Europe, where are the rest?


Now let’s look at some facts about the real Syrian refugee crisis:


  • The breakdown of Syrian refugees according to United Nations Refugee Agency are as follows:
    • Turkey is host to 2 million (2% of its population)
    • Lebanon is host to 1,2 million (20% of its population)
    • Jordan is host to well over 625,000 (10% of its population)
    • Iraq is host to 250,000 (0.7% of its population)
    • Egypt is host to 130,000 (0.2% of its population)
    • North Africa is host to well over 50,000
    • Syrian refugees have been arriving to these countries for 5 years since the start of the revolution
    • The refugees in Turkey are being integrated in Turkish society and considered as residents
    • Turkish government support Turkish families helping accommodate Syrian refugees by subsidizing their Electricity, gas and water bills as well as local tax
    • There are emergency refugee camps in all these countries to secure the accommodation for every Syrian crossing the border
    • Host countries are dealing with the crisis on their own relying on their own budgets with little help from other countries 
    • UN estimated it needs around $5.5 billion to deal with the refugee crisis
    • This summer Europe pledged $1.2 billion, USA $507 million and Kuwait $500 million
    • The UN runs their own aid programmes parallel to host countries but it’s a fraction of what is really needed to support the refugees. 


These facts clearly show that what is happening in Europe is insignificant compared to what the neighbouring countries to Syria are going through to help the Syrians. Yet you have never heard in the media how great the Turkish president is, or the Jordanian, or the Lebanese.  This could be a cultural and religious side to the Arabs; when you do help, you don’t tell the whole world about it, you just do it discreetly. How could these countries cope which such number of refugees for the last five years: shelter, food, clothing, hygiene, psychological suffering, etc? Therefore, instead of playing the crisis heroine and the example for other European leaders to follow, Angela Merkel needs to give credit to Turkey and follow their example of helping displaced refugees.


There are more to the crisis than meet the eye. As we have seen though out history, every crisis is an opportunity to make tons of money for some. We will soon hear about donation campaigns to help Syrian refugees, and other events using the crisis as a source of making money. The media is the first beneficiary, making tons of money selling their Syrian refugee crisis stories, photos, videos, etc. 


I am sure that the crisis will be dealt with one way or another, with the help of all countries or just few. However, I am certain that after this first article, your view about the crisis will change because now you have the full picture. This article is not about changing your mind or making you sympathise with refugee’s situation or underestimating the efforts European countries are making to help with the situation. It’s just about the truth and the whole truth, not just part of the truth. 


Next article in the series will be about the use of the Syrian crisis in the political arena and how politicians play their cards right. It’s all about Angels and Devils, Wolfs and lambs. We all know that the truth in politics is never what it seems. 





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