10.6 million Syrians have left their country: almost half of all the people in Syria. This is the dramatic result of an unrelenting and devastating war that started back in 2011, after the outbreak of protests against the government. Millions of women, children and men abandoned their beloved land and started marching towards the West hoping to find safety and the opportunity to start a new life. More people have left this country than any other in recent years. One of every five displaced people in the world is Syrian.
Even if most of the time it is individual stories that shake our consciousness and awake our human empathy it is, however, important to keep in mind the overall numbers of this catastrophe.
The number of Syrians displaced from their country is almost the same number of people killed by the Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945.
War has displaced almost half of Syria’s population
Most Syrians that have left their homeland registered as refugees with the United Nations in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan for the most part.
For too long Europe and the international community have closed their eyes towards the Syrian bloody civil war: four years of protracted inaction have left multitudes of civilians in total devastation. Suddenly, the European borders have been pushed open by two great political forces. One is the human empathy wakened by the image of the drowned Syrian child on the Turkish beach. The other is the political intuition of Angela Merkel, German chancellor, who appealed to the other member states to set quotas to take a share of displaced people. Mrs. Merkel had the political will and strength to do what countries like Italy and Greece had been asking for in years. The European Commission has consequently proposed a relocation scheme for 120’000 refugees from Greece, Italy and Hungary.
More Syrians are heading towards Europe
Three out of five Syrians seeking asylum in Europe are in Germany, Sweden or Serbia. Large number of Syrians also have sought asylum in Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Denmark.
Among the European countries receiving the fewest asylum requests are Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Iceland.
During the past weekend Germany instituted temporary border controls to face the massive influx of migrants and refugees of Syrians arriving from Austria and other neighbor states. Germany’s temporary “Scheng-xit” appears to be allowed by rules to be applied in situations of crisis, but open borders are said to be reinstalled as soon as it is possible.
“The German decision of today underlines the urgency to agree on the measures proposed by the European Commission in order to manage the refugee crisis,” the European Commission said in a statement Sunday.
In fact, EU member states must still agree to the European Commission’s proposal backed by Germany. Their interior ministers are due to meet today, Monday 14 September, in Brussels to discuss this issue.