How Can You Help? Syrian Resettlement
The Syrian Civil War began in 2011 after unrest and demonstrations during the so-called Arab Spring. Government forces have been pitted against a range of militias since then, some of whom are also fighting each other. With Russia taking the side of the government and supplying air power and supplies, the carnage has been greater than at any time since World War Two. Cities including Aleppo and Homs have been severely damaged, and the bloodshed is unlikely to end even if the Syrian army restores control.
By the end of 2018 an estimated 500,000 Syrians had died in the conflict, mainly civilians, while 5.6 million had fled the country, and 6.2 million were still internally displaced. Most of those who had fled are in neighbouring countries, mainly in huge refugee camps in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, causing major issues with local populations. For an up to date summary of the situation go to the invaluable Quick Facts Guide produced by Mercy Corps.
In 2015 and 2016 a huge number of refugees – including 360,000 Syrians – made their way to Europe, often risking their lives crossing the Mediterranean in unsafe and overcrowded boats. Germany received 158,000 asylum applications from Syria, Hungary 64,000 and Sweden 50,000. By contrast, the UK received only 2,840 applications.
The UK government has pledged to take 20,000 vulnerable Syrians direct from refugee camps in the Middle East by 2020. This scheme is called the Syrian Resettlement Programme.
The Quick Guide to getting involved will tell you more about the options for involvement in this and other schemes.