The Washington Post reports: While the world’s attention is fixed on the tens of thousands of Syrian refugees swarming into Europe, a potentially far more profound crisis is unfolding in the countries of the Middle East that have borne the brunt of the world’s failure to resolve the Syrian war.
Those reaching Europe represent a small percentage of the 4 million Syrians who have fled into Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, making Syria the biggest single source of refugees in the world and the worst humanitarian emergency in more than four decades.
As the fighting grinds into a fifth year, the realization is dawning on aid agencies, the countries hosting the refugees and the Syrians themselves that most won’t be going home anytime soon, presenting the international community with a long-term crisis that it is ill-equipped to address and that could prove deeply destabilizing, for the region and the wider world.
The failure is first and foremost one of diplomacy, said António Guterres, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. The conflict has left at least 250,000 people dead in the strategic heart of the Middle East and displaced more than 11 million overall, yet there is still no peace process, no discernible solution and no end in sight.
Now, the humanitarian effort is failing, too, ground down by dwindling interest, falling donations and spiraling needs. The United Nations has received less than half the amount it said was needed to care for the refugees over the past four years. Aid is being cut and programs are being suspended at the very moment when those who left Syria in haste, expecting they soon would go home, are running out of savings and wearing out the welcome they initially received.
“It is a tragedy without parallel in the recent past,” Guterres said in an interview, warning that millions could eventually end up without the help they need to stay alive.
“There are many battles being won,” he added. “Unfortunately, the number of battles being lost is more.”
It is a crisis whose true cost has yet to be realized. [Continue reading…]
4M+ Syria refugees Resettlement places offered by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait: 0 pic.twitter.com/ZQQ38dsOld
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) August 30, 2015
A Syrian refugee, having reached Europe — where she hopes to find a doctor who can treat her two-year old daughter’s heart condition — told the New York Times: “I want to find somewhere where there are no Arabs. Europeans are better people. The Arabs hurt us a lot.”
Jenan Moussa, who reports for Al Aan TV, highlights the conflicted views on governance that are stifling the region’s political development.
In one quote: this is one of the main problems we have in the Middle East pic.twitter.com/I08WaREo00
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) August 30, 2015