‘Syria is emptying’

The Washington Post reports: Analysts say it was inevitable it would come to this, that Syrians would eventually tire of waiting for a war of such exceptional brutality to end. At least 250,000 have been killed in four ferocious years of fighting, by chemical weapons, ballistic missiles and the barrel bombings by government warplanes that are the biggest single killer of civilians, according to human rights groups.

Men on both sides die in the endless battles between the government and rebels for towns, villages and military bases that produce no clear victory. The Islamic State kills people in the areas it controls with beheadings and other brutal punishments. The United States is leading a bombing campaign against the Islamic State but has shown scant interest in solving the wider Syrian war, which seems destined to only escalate further with the deepening involvement of Russian troops.

“It should surprise no one. Hopelessness abounds,” said Fred Hof, a former State Department official who is now with the Atlantic Council. “Why would any Syrian with an option to leave and the physical ability to do so elect to stay?”

There are other nationalities, too; refugees from conflict zones such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, alongside a small number of economic migrants from countries that include Bangladesh, Pakistan and Senegal.

But overwhelmingly this is a crisis of people fleeing war, and above all, the one in Syria, Fleming said.

“In the absence of the Syrians coming in the numbers they are coming, there wouldn’t be this huge surge in numbers,” she said. “This is why we are calling it a refugee crisis, not a migrant crisis.” [Continue reading…]

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