Syrian civil war displaces thousands


Gaia Squarci/McClatchy/TNS

Syrian refugees at the port of Tripoli, Lebanon, waiting to board the ferry Lady Su, which travels to Tasucu, Turkey, in a twelve-hour journey. The ferry, which was scheduled to depart at 10 p.m. on September 21, left the port at 10 a.m. the following day due to regular delays and an truck accident during loading.

During a rainstorm in late September, 50 inflatable rubber boats carrying around 70 Syrian refugees each landed on the shores of the Greek island Lesbos. Families, including mothers and children, were on these overcrowded boats. Many of the refugees developed hypothermia as a result of the conditions they experienced while crossing the Aegean Sea.

These refugees are from Syria, and they made the journey across the Aegan Sea to escape the conflict of the Syrian civil war. According to BBC News, almost 250,000 Syrians have been killed over the course of the Syrian civil war, which has lasted almost four years. As towns and cities became major battlefields, many Syrians were forced to leave their homes. As a result, about 11 million people, almost half of the Syrian population, have been displaced.

A Syrian family stays on the street where they have been sleeping in Izmir, Turkey, while they attempt to reach Greece by boat on Sept. 3, 2015.
Alice Martins/McClatchy DC/TNS
A Syrian family stays on the street where they have been sleeping in Izmir, Turkey, while they attempt to reach Greece by boat on Sept. 3, 2015.

The Syrian people asked for a democracy, but they got a civil war. In 2011, Syrians staged pro-democracy protests against the Syrian military regime that controlled the government.

The government responded by sending soldiers to break up the protests and using the military to try to crush the pro-democracy opposition. The opposition supporters formed groups and began to attack cities under government control, pushing Syria into a civil war.

Violence between the Syrian National Coalition and the Syrian government continually escalated. In 2013, the government used chemical weapons attack on its opposition. According to the Washington Post, the United Nations considers these attacks to be war crimes. As the civil war continued, ISIS took control of parts of Syria. The U.S., Russia, and Iran all stepped in to try to de-escalate the conflict.

CNN estimates that about four million Syrian refugees have fled to other countries. Many refugees have attempted to enter the four countries that surround Syria: Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon. Others have attempted to be smuggled into Europe.

Turkey and Lebanon, who both border Syria, have each accepted more than one million refugees already. Most countries in the European Union have also agreed to accept small numbers of refugees, but some countries like Germany agreed to accept as many as 800,000 refugees.

In September, the US agreed to accept a total of 85,000 Syrian refugees. According to Secretary of State John Kerry, this number could even reach as high as 100,000, but the US will only accept refugees after a thorough background check.

The number of refugees the US is able to admit is a direct result of how many background checks the State Department can conduct in such a short time frame. The average background check for a refugee takes one to two years to finish.

According to USA Today, the US has already accepted 1,800 refugees since 2011. Texas has accepted 18 refugees, the highest number of all the states. In comparison, Maryland has accepted 26 refugees.

USA Today reported that all of these refugees are all committed to taking advantage of this opportunity and creating better lives for themselves and their families.

Grace Mottley is a News Editor for The Patriot and