An estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011, taking refuge in neighbouring countries or within Syria itself. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 3 million have fled to Syria's immediate neighbours Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. 6.5 million are internally displaced within Syria. Meanwhile, under 150,000 Syrians have declared asylum in the European Union, while member states have pledged to resettle a further 33,000 Syrians. The vast majority of these resettlement spots – 28,500 or 85% – are pledged by Germany.
This website offers a snapshot of the repercussions of this refugee crisis for both Syria’s neighbours and the European Union. It is a project of the Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute, based on a series of studies conducted by local researchers on behalf of the MPC at the end of 2012 and an update carried out in 2014. This website is the result of close collaboration between a team of journalists and these local researchers, under the auspices of the MPC, to paint a broad picture of the worst refugee crisis to affect the region in years.
This website also examines the role played by the European Union, both as a provider of humanitarian aid and as a home for refugees. While it is true that the EU is a leading contributor of humanitarian aid to the region, the amount donated by each of its 28 member states has varied greatly. Furthermore, while the EU has accepted the vast majority of Syrians who have applied for asylum, it has to date received relatively few requests. Its response to a UNHCR call for more than 130,000 resettlement spots for Syrian refugees between 2013-2016 has also been tepid.
In contrast, absorbing the influx of refugees has been an enormous challenge for Syria’s neighbours, with strong implications for the stability of the entire region. We hope this website is an accessible way to better understand the crisis .
Created in January 2013
Updated in February and October 2014