Syrian Refugee Crisis

Syrians+sit+on+a+sidewalk+where+they+have+been+sleeping+in+Izmir%2C+Turkey%2C+while+they+wait+to+attempt+reaching+Greece+by+boat+on+Sept.+3%2C+2015.+This+year%2C+some+220%2C000+war+refugees+and+economic+migrants+have+arrived+in+Greece+from+Turkey+and+other+Mediterranean+jumping+off+points%2C+according+to+U.N.+figures.+%28Alice+Martins%2FMcClatchy%2FTNS%29

Syrians sit on a sidewalk where they have been sleeping in Izmir, Turkey, while they wait to attempt reaching Greece by boat on Sept. 3, 2015. This year, some 220,000 war refugees and economic migrants have arrived in Greece from Turkey and other Mediterranean jumping off points, according to U.N. figures. (Alice Martins/McClatchy/TNS)

Gus Flores, Staff Writer

Syrians sit on a sidewalk where they have been sleeping in Izmir, Turkey, while they wait to attempt reaching Greece by boat on Sept. 3, 2015. This year, some 220,000 war refugees and economic migrants have arrived in Greece from Turkey and other Mediterranean jumping off points, according to U.N. figures. (Alice Martins/McClatchy/TNS)

Thousands of Syrian war refugees have recently started seeking safety with in Europe. Syria’s closest neighbouring countries have reached maximum capacity, but the EU is hesitant to accept refugees, forcing many in need of asylum to enter illegally.

The Syrian civil war has caused a total around four million people to leave the country, with 95% of those people being taken in by Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon. Typically refugees are placed in crowded underfunded camps run by the UN, who are ill equipped for the large amount of refugees.

Graphic showing the number of Syrian refugees from 2012-2015
Graphic showing the number of Syrian refugees from 2012-2015

Because of the less than ideal conditions in the surrounding countries, including prohibiting refugees from working, people have started to drift towards Europe where they hope to find more support upon entry. Refugees are guaranteed certain rights and protection under the UNHRC, who established international refugee laws in 1951. But some EU countries have made it difficult to obtain these rights by prohibiting  refugees to enter.

The EU has suggested a quota system to spread out the number of refugees between European countries. This would prevent one country from bearing all the responsibility for the masses of refugees, which is currently happening in Greece, Austria, and Hungary. Some EU countries encourage acceptance of refugees, such as Germany who is expected to take on 800,000 asylum seekers this year. Hungary has shown its opposition to accepting refugees by building a 175 kilometer wall along its Serbian border.

Europe holds more hope for stable refuge and job opportunities, which has led to many refugees to pay large sums of money to get to EU countries, often arriving in Athens and Budapest via smugglers.

“The majority of people have used at one stage the service of a smuggler – from Turkey to a Greek island for instance,”  Mr Pluim of the ICMPD said in an interview with BBC.

Relying on smugglers to get into the EU can be very dangerous for refugees. Since January 2,600 people have died while crossing the Mediterranean. Alan Kurdi, a syrian refugee lost his wife and two children in early September, when a Turkish boat carrying 12 refugees to Greece capsized.

“I would love to sit next to the grave of my family now and relieve the pain I feel,” Kurdi said in an interview with BBC after the tragedy had occurred.

Photos of Kurdi’s three year old sons body made their way through public media, and brought greater attention to those overseas of the crisis. With no end to the Syrian civil war in sight, refugees are hoping to be welcomed into any country promising the shelter, food, and jobs as soon as possible.