ISIS IS Causing Massive Humanitarian Problems

By Sal Bommarito

Since 2012, three million refugees have fled Syria. Their destinations have been:

(in thousands)
Lebanon 1,185
Turkey* 843
Jordan 615
Iraq 215
Egypt 139

Total 2,997

*Refugees from Kobani, Syria and Mosul, Iraq have greatly increased Turkey’s total to 1.7 million in recent days.

Most of those fleeing Syria have left because of increasing oppression by the Syrian government led by Bashar al-Assad and the ISIS invasion.

In Turkey, 13% of the refugees are in government camps and the balance have moved into nearby cities and towns. The costs to the Turkish government have risen to over $4 billion; the international community has contributed $240 million to the cause.

The generosity of the Turkish government is a result of a moral imperative to help the needy “even if it is difficult, costly, unpopular and risky.” However, the conditions that these people must to endure are horrendous and will worsen as winter arrives.

The Turkish situation is most perplexing because the country’s objectives are quite diverse compared to other Arab nations in the region. Certainly, Turkey wants to defeat ISIS, but equally important are its desire to defeat Assad and limit the immigration of Syrian Kurds into Turkey.

Turkey has asked the U.S. to create a no-fly zone along its border with Syria that would protect Kurds and other groups fighting against Assad and ISIS thereby limiting their migration into the country. However, a no-fly zone could result in confrontations between U.S. and Syrian aircraft that would no doubt attack any groups hostile towards Assad.

A report in the New York Times today indicates that “Thousands of Syrians, mostly women and children, have been stranded for weeks on Jordan’s border, according to international and aid agencies who say Jordan appears to be increasingly turning away Syrians fleeing war at home.” Internally, Jordan citizens are objecting to the costs and risk of infiltrators of the massive migration.

When the ISIS crisis ends, the greatest tragedy might be a humanitarian disaster relating to all the displaced people. The refugee issue is only a part of this drama; millions of Iraqis and Syrians have been forced out of their homes and relocated to other parts of the country. Overcrowding and difficult conditions have developed.

The refugee support provided by the countries listed above is huge. The cost of it for all the new inhabitants will severely impact their financial viability. This will, for sure, decrease the level of service that the needy will require.

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