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First intellectual output. Loyola Andalucia University

First intellectual output. Loyola Andalucia University

Syria

Socio-economic and geopolitical aspects
“Syria, country located on the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea in southwestern Asia. Its area includes territory in the Golan Heights that has been occupied by Israel since 1967. The capital is Damascus, on the Baradā River, situated in an oasis at the foot of Mount Qāsiyūn. Syria is bounded by Turkey to the north, by Iraq to the east and southeast, by Jordan to the south, and by Lebanon and Israel to the southwest.” (Encyclopedia Britannica)

“After Syria gained its independence in 1946, political life in the country was highly unstable, owing in large measure to intense friction between the country’s social, religious, and political groups. In 1970 Syria came under the authoritarian rule of Pres. Hafiz al-Assad, whose foremost goals included achieving national security and domestic stability and recovering the Syrian territory lost to Israel in 1967. Assad committed his country to an enormous arms buildup, which put severe strains on the national budget, leaving little for development. After Assad’s death in 2000, his son Bashar al-Assad became president. Despite some early steps toward political reform, Bashar al-Assad ultimately continued his father’s authoritarian style of government, using Syria’s powerful military and security services to suppress political dissent.” (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Current conflicts and their causes
“In March 2011 Syria’s government, led by Pres. Bashar al-Assad, faced an unprecedented challenge to its authority when pro-democracy protests erupted throughout the country. In March 2011 antigovernment protests broke out in Syria, inspired by a wave of similar demonstrations elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa that had begun in December 2010. Protesters demanded an end to the authoritarian practices of the Assad regime, in place since Assad’s father, Ḥafiz al-Assad, became president in 1971. The Syrian government used violence to suppress demonstrations, making extensive use of police, military, and paramilitary forces. Opposition militias began to form in 2011, and by 2012 the conflict had expanded into a full-fledged civil war.” (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Push factors
“More than 117,000 have been detained or disappeared since 2011, the vast majority by government forces, including 4,557 between January and June 2016, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights. Torture and ill-treatment are rampant in detention facilities; thousands have died in detention.” (HRW, 2017).

“The Islamic State (also known as ISIS), and the former Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, which changed its name to Jabhat Fath al-Sham, were responsible for systematic and widespread violations, including targeting civilians with artillery, kidnappings, and executions. Non-state armed groups opposing the government also carried out serious abuses including indiscriminate attacks against civilians, using child soldiers, kidnapping, unlawfully blocking humanitarian aid, and torture.” (HRW, 2017)

“Relentless airstrikes, shelling, and widespread and systematic arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, torture, and forced disappearances have exacerbated a displacement crisis, both internally and externally, which has been further aggravated by shortfalls in international humanitarian aid funding.” (HRW, 2017)

Main countries of destination of migration and refuge flows, and particularities of the routes
“Over 5 million people have fled Syria since 2011, seeking safety in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and beyond. Millions more are displaced inside Syria.” (UNHCR) “Neighboring countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, sought to curb the massive inflow of refugees with unlawful administrative, legal, and even physical barriers. Despite a bilateral open-door treaty, Lebanon since early 2015 has imposed visa-like restrictions for Syrians seeking entry and maintains stringent residency renewal regulations, negatively impacting refugees’ freedom of movement, access to education, and access to healthcare.” (HRW, 2017) “In Lebanon, life is a daily struggle for many Syrian refugees, who have little or no financial resources. Around 70 per cent live below the poverty line. There are no formal refugee camps and, as a result, more than a million registered Syrians are scattered throughout more than 2,100 urban and rural communities and locations, often sharing small basic lodgings with other refugee families in overcrowded conditions.” (UNHCR) During the year, Jordanian border authorities blocked entry of migrants and asylum seekers along the eastern stretch of its border with Syria, except for a period in the early summer when it allowed 20,000 to enter for security screening.” (HRW, 2017) “Turkey hosts over 3.2 million registered Syrians. The majority of them live in urban areas, with around 260,000 accommodated in the 21 government-run refugee camps.” (UNHCR)

In order to reach the EU, several migratory routes have been used by Syrian refugees:

  • At the outset of the conflict, one of the possible routes for Syrian refugees was the Turkey-Algeria-Morocco-Spain Route. Refugees would go from Turkey to Algeria – since no visa was asked at this country – afterwards crossing with no authorization to Morocco and from there to Melilla (Spain). However, currently few use this route opting instead for the Turkey-Greece Route. (El Español)
  • The Turkey-Greece Route: Departing from the western ports of Turkey, Syrian refugees try to reach Greece – costing about 1 000 euros – and then through the Western Balkans arrive into Central Europe (Hungary, Austria and eventually Germany). (El País)

Consequences of violence or terror on people
“More than 117,000 have been detained or disappeared since 2011, the vast majority by government forces, including 4,557 between January and June 2016, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights. Torture and ill-treatment are rampant in detention facilities; thousands have died in detention.” (HRW, 2017)

“According to the Syrian Center for Policy Research, an independent Syrian research organization, the death toll from the conflict as of February 2016 was 470,000. The spread and intensification of fighting has led to a dire humanitarian crisis, with 6.1 million internally displaced people and 4.8 million seeking refuge abroad, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. By mid-2016, an estimated 1 million people were living in besieged areas and denied life-saving assistance and humanitarian aid.” (HRW, 2017)

References
http://www.unhcr.org/syria-emergency.html

Attachments:
Download this file (report-syria.pdf)Report[Spanish language]

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