Hungarian policemen detain a Syrian migrant family after they entered Hungary at the border with Serbia, near Roszke, Aug. 28.(Reuters/Bernadett Szabo)
Since 2011, the Syrian refugee crisis has forced more than 5.6 million Syrians to flee their country and has displaced more than 6.6 million people from their homes. A majority of refugees have fled to neighboring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. Turkey alone hosts over 3 million people.
When did the Syrian crisis begin? The conflict in Syria began as an offshoot of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. Sparked on April 29th in the town of Daraa by a group of 13 year old boys who wrote on the side of their school "The Government must go!", the movement began as a uprising for democracy. As peaceful protests began to grow across the country, the Syrian government began to violently crackdown on the protesters, forcing families to flee their homes. After just two months, refugee camps started to open in neighboring countries.
Where are Syrians fleeing to? Syrian refugees have escaped to neighboring countries in the region with the overwhelming majority finding refuge in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Syrian refugees are living in urban centers as well as in makeshift shelters and informal settlements in places like Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. Less than 10 percent of Syrian refugees live in camps.
Thousands of Syrians flood across the border into Iraq
How have the Syrian children been impacted by this crisis? The Syrian conflict has stolen the lives of millions of children. Syrian children are being called the lost generation of children because the conflict has left them traumatized, vulnerable to exploitation and with a major lack of education and health services. The UNHCR sites that approximately 50 percent of all registered Syrian refugees are under the age of 18 – and millions have grown up knowing nothing but conflict. Host countries are working to expand schools to aid Syrian children, but the resources in host countries are very thin. According to the UNHR, 50 percent of school-aged Syrian children are still not in school. UNICEF sites that boys inside Syria as young as 7 years old are also recruited by armed forces to fight on the front lines, often without parental consent. Among these issues, child marriages of young Syrian refugee girls have been on the rise. 24 per cent of refugee girls currently between the ages of 15 and 17 are being married off by their families.
Biggest challenges Syrian refugees face? Syrian refugees continue to struggle for their lives. In Lebanon, 70 percent of Syrians live below the poverty line and in Jordan, an astonishing 93 percent live below the poverty line. Despite loosened restrictions on work permits in many host countries, Syrian refugees continue to struggle to find employment. Many refugees have been forced into the informal work sector where there’s an increased chance of being exploited.