Who will pay for Syrian refugees?
The Daily Star
What will happen to the millions of Syrians who fled their country’s civil war? asked Jesse Marks. The host countries don’t want them. When Germany, a nation of more than 82 million people, took in about 1 million migrants in 2015-16 it was considered extraordinarily destabilizing. Yet Turkey, of comparable size, has 3.5 million Syrian refugees; tiny Lebanon (population 6 million) is sheltering 1.5 million Syrians. Jordan has another 1.4 million. The financial burden of taking care of these refugees is simply not sustainable, and while international donors have pledged assistance, they haven’t come through. Host countries now fear that they will “shoulder the burden of a long-term Syrian refugee presence,” just as Jordan and Lebanon have done with the Palestinians. To avoid that fate, they’re trying to push the Syrians out, saying that because President Bashar al-Assad has retaken most of Syria, it’s safe to go back. But it isn’t. Much of Syria has been bombed to rubble, water and power are spotty at best, and unexploded mines are everywhere. Worse, the refugees are mostly Sunni Muslims who oppose Assad, a member of an offshoot of Shiite Islam, and they’re at risk of “retaliatory violence.” If they’re forced to go home, a new exodus could begin.