Aid agencies have, in recent times complained of falling short of finances to pursue humanitarian activities in Syrian refugee camps.
At a yearly donor summit, organized by the European Union in Brussels for humanitarian relief in response to the Syrian crisis, aid organizations try to draw global attention back to the dire conditions of Syrian refugees.
However, the proceeds of the fund raised is be used to assist the 5.7 million Syrian refugees, who reside in nearby nations, mainly Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, as well as Syrian citizens still living in the war-torn nation. Although humanitarian agencies recognized that, contributions would probably fall short, organizers hope to raise about $11.2 billion this year.
A day before the conference, the World Food Program declared that, it was experiencing an “unprecedented funding crisis” and would only be able to continue providing food aid to 2.5 million of the 5.5 million people in Syria.
The summit comes as Syria’s prolonged uprising-turned-civil war enters its 13th year, and also just after the fatal 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook much of the country, adding to its suffering. As the earthquake wrecked homes and hospitals, the World Bank estimated over $5 billion in losses as a result of the earthquake in the war-tone nation.
Additionally, it occurred at a time when refugees residing in nearby nations face uncertain political conditions. With Damascus rejoining the Arab League, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad just acquired a crucial political resuscitation. In response, Syria’s neighbors have demanded a widespread repatriation of refugees.
Anti-Refugee Sentiments and Repatriation of Syrians
In neighboring Lebanon and Turkey, which have also been experiencing economic and political difficulties, anti-refugee sentiment has increased.
Authorities in Lebanon have placed curfews on Syrian refugees, and limited their capacity to afford homes, because the government has blamed the over 1.5 million refugees, for the country’s economic woes. According to human rights groups, the Lebanese military has recently repatriated hundreds of Syrian refugees.
Also, repatriation of the 3.7 million refugees was a major issue in Turkey’s recent Presidential and Legislative elections, which resulted in a second term for incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The open-door policy of Erdogan’s administration has long been maintained, but in recent years, housing projects have been constructed in parts of northwest Syria, that are under the oversight of Syrian opposition organizations, and sponsored by Ankara, with the claimed intention of promoting refugee returns.
Moreover, the Turkish government has occasionally deported people forcibly, but Erdogan’s opponents have taken a tougher stance, and promised to deport large numbers of refugees. Many Syrian refugees think that, matters are too unstable back home, yet some have willingly returned to Syria from Lebanon and Turkey.
Fteim Al-Janoud, a refugee in the camp in Lebanon, battled with tears as she discussed how she and her husband could only afford to send one of their six kids to school. The Aleppo area in northern Syria, however, has been considerably worse, according to the refugee, both in terms of security and logistics.
“If the conditions were good and if our homes were fixed so we could live peacefully and comfortably, we wouldn’t have a problem going back to Syria, even with Assad still there.”Fteim Al-Janoud, Refugee in Lebanon Camp.
However, as aid decreased recently, the situation for Syrians have increasingly gotten worse, and donors raced to assist the more than 7 million people who have been internally displaced in war-torn nations and the over 5 million Ukrainian refugees. Following the COVID-19 epidemic, which shook the world economy for years, the conflict in Ukraine, additionally caused a boom in food inflation.
Ivo Freijsen, the U.N. refugee agency’s official in Lebanon, said that the country’s 90% of refugees live in poor conditions and rely heavily on aid. “We see needs are increasing, and we also see that donor funding is gradually going down,” he said.