31 Syrian Refugee Crisis Facts Worth Knowing

Last updated on August 27th, 2019

More than 14 million Syrians require humanitarian assistance. According to a report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are over 5 million registered Syrian refugees. More than 4 million Syrian refugees are in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Listed below are important Syrian refugee facts.

1. World’s Largest Refugee Population

As at 2017, more than 30 percent of all refugees come from Syria. The Syrian refugee crisis is the worst exodus since the Rwandan Genocide of 1994.

2. Cause of the Syrian Refugee Crisis

The cause of the Syrian refugee crisis is the Syrian civil war that started in 2011. Anti-government demonstrations started in March 2011 as part of the Arab Spring. By July 2011, the conflict became a civil war.

3. Growth in the Number of Syrian Refugees

In July 2012, there were only 100,000 Syrian refugees. In 2013, the figure was 1.5 million. By the end of 2015, Syrian refugees were over 4.5 million.

4. Thousands of Syrians Flee Syria Everyday

One of the reasons for fleeing is the killing of a family member. Some flee because of the bombing of a neighborhood.

5. Risks That Syrian Refugees Face on the Way

Often times, the risks of the journey are just as high as the risk of staying. There is the risk of sniper fire. Warring parties usually kidnap young Syrian refugees.

Also read: facts about Syria

6. Turkey Hosts Most Syrian Refugees

There are more than 2.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey. That amounts to over 2.4% of Turkey’s population.

7. Lebanon and Jordan also Have Syrian Refugees

As at March 2017, Lebanon had 1,017,433 Syrian refugees. One in four people in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee. One in ten people in Jordan is a Syrian refugee.

8. Syrian Refugee in Iraq

Iraq has a few Syrian refugee camps. Syrians started escaping to Iraq in August 2013. Iraq is struggling to meet the needs of Syrian refugees because of the internal conflict in the country.

9. Syrian Refugee in Europe

An increasing number of Syrian refugees are fleeing to Europe. Most are fleeing to Greece and Germany.

10. The Dangerous Trip of Syrian Refugees to Europe

Many Syrian refugees usually die in the Mediterranean Sea in the process of fleeing to Europe. That is mainly because of overcrowded boats.

11. Turkish Smugglers

Syrian refugees are being smuggled to Europe by Turkish smugglers. Most Syrian refugees sell all their possessions to pay the smuggling fee. Most of them enter Europe with only a backpack and a few dollars stashed in their clothing.

12. Syrian Refugee in USA

In 2015, the US accepted less than 2000 Syrian refugees. In 2016, the US accepted 12,587 Syrian refugees.

13. The Vetting Process

The vetting process for Syrian refugees who want to enter the US involves database checks and multiple interviews. Less than 1 percent of refugees usually pass the initial UNHCR screening. After UNHCR screening, US intelligence community vets a refugee.

14. Syrian Refugees in Canada

As at January 2017, Canada has resettled 40,081 Syrian refugees. The Canadian government works with private sponsors to welcome refugees.

15. Are Gulf Countries Accepting Syrian Refugees?

The six Gulf countries have offered zero resettlement places to Syrian refugees. Other countries that do not accept Syrian refugees include South Korea, Singapore, Japan, and Russia.

16. Syrian Refugees Demographics

Most Syrian refugees are women and children. A third of Syrian refugees are younger than 12 years old.

17. Syrian Refugees Who are Children

More than 50% of Syrian refugees are children who have lost everything. Young Syrian refugees are scared and confused by their experiences. Older children end up growing up too fast.

18. Money Needed

According to the United Nations (UN), in 2016, there was the need for more than $4.5 billion for meeting the urgent needs of Syrian refugees. The UN only received $2.9 billion.

19. Do All Syrian Refugees Live in Camps?

Only 1 in 10 Syrian refugees live in camps. Most of them are struggling to settle in rural or urban environments.

20. Conditions That Syrians Face Outside Camps

Some Syrians not living in camps live in rooms without running water and heating. Some live in storage sheds and chicken coops.

21. Urban Refugees

More than 300,000 Syrian refugees are living outside camps. Such refugees are extremely in need. Turkey has more urban refugees than camp dwellers.

22. The Most Popular Syrian Refugee Camp

This is the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. It opened in July 2012.

Facts about Syrian refugees: Zaatari refugee camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan
Zaatari refugee camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan which only contains a population of 80,000 out of the 1.3 million in the country. Image credit – Wikipedia

23. Over 80,000 Syrian Refugees Live In Za’atari Refugee Camp

Za’atari Refugee Camp is one of Jordan’s largest cities. It is the destination for most newly arrived refugees from Syria.

24. Azraf Refugee Camp

This opened in April 2014. It has a supermarket, steel caravans, and organized streets. Azraf Refugee Camp provides a sense of security and community.

25. Who Operates Syrian Refugee Camps

Host governments and international organizations like the United Nations (UN) and Mercy Corps operate some of the refugee camps. Families operate other camps. Jordan’s camps offer more support and structure.

26. Challenges of Syrian Refugees

Syrian refugees in Turkey face the language barrier. Families living in camps feel trapped.

Syrian refugees in Lebanon . The fact file
Syrian refugees in Lebanon living in cramped quarters (6 August 2012). Image credit – Wikipedia

27. Syrian Refugee Families

The typical Syrian refugee family has six or more children. Some women give birth after fleeing Syria.

28. Population Growth

The population growth rate of Syrian refugees is tremendous. Even if countries hosting Syrian refugees stop taking refugees, the number of refugees will continue increasing because of refugees giving birth.

29. Early Marriage

Early marriage is common in Syrian refugee girls. Some are dropping out of school to marry.

30. Diseases

Diseases that are common in Syrian refugee populations include measles and tuberculosis. The overwhelmed hospitals of host countries are increasingly unable to meet the medical needs of refugees.

31. How You Can Help Syrian Refugees

You can donate to international organizations that help Syrian refugees like Mercy Corps. You can also petition your local politicians to support Syrian refugees.

The Bottom-Line

More than 4.5 million Syrian refugees are in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Iraq. Less than 1% of Syria’s refugees will ever get the chance of overseas resettlement.