World Refugee Day Highlights the Plight of Syrian Refugees

Credit: ( Aris Messinis/AFP)
On World Refugee Day, the spotlight shines on the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, highlighting the dire conditions faced by millions who have fled their homes. Statements and reports from Syrian organizations emphasize the urgency of addressing the humanitarian needs and ensuring the protection of these vulnerable populations.

The Idlib-based Office of the Humanitarian Action Coordination (HAC) released a statement marking the day, underscoring the forced displacement endured by Syrian refugees. “Syrian Refugees, as individuals or groups, were forced to flee their homes to preserve their freedoms and save their lives,” the HAC statement read. It attributed the threats, persecution, and displacement to the Assad regime, stating that these individuals do not enjoy protection from their governments.

According to HAC, 8.45 million Syrians have become refugees and migrants, with 97% residing in neighboring countries. Turkey hosts the largest share with over 62%, followed by Lebanon with 15%, and Jordan with 12%. Additionally, 3.45 million people are internally displaced in northern Syria, with 2 million living in one of the over 1,500 camps spread across Idlib and Aleppo provinces.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) provided a grim account of the conditions faced by refugees and returnees. Their report documented at least 4,714 cases of arbitrary arrest of returning refugees and displaced persons by Assad regime forces. Furthermore, the SNHR recorded the deaths of at least 367 civilians, including 56 children and 34 women, from January to June 2024. These figures highlight the persistent violence that continues to drive Syrians to flee their homeland.

“The violations that are still being practiced in Syria are the main reason behind the flight of millions of Syrians from their country,” stated the SNHR report. It emphasized that the ongoing violations hinder the return of refugees and contribute to the creation of more refugees. The report estimated that nearly 6.7 million Syrians are refugees, representing the largest refugee population in the world.

In response to these alarming statistics, the HAC emphasized the importance of upholding the rights of Syrian refugees as outlined in the 1951 Refugee Convention. These rights include the prohibition of expulsion or refoulement, the right to work, education, freedom of movement, and adequate housing. “We demand that Syrian refugees who are suffering from extremely difficult conditions be protected in accordance with international laws and humanitarian principles,” the HAC statement urged.

The SNHR report also stressed that Syria is not safe for the return of refugees, citing the absence of law, the dominance of oppression, and the centralization of power as major obstacles to a dignified return. As the world observes World Refugee Day, the plight of Syrian refugees serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing humanitarian crisis. The international community is urged, by groups like HAC and SNHR, to provide the necessary protection and support to these refugees until they can safely return to their homes and rebuild their lives free from violence and oppression.


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