Syrians Displaced: The toll of refugees on Syria's neighbours


United Nations experts are on the ground in the Syrian capital investigating the area where last week's suspected poison gas attacks left hundreds of people dead. The stakes get higher for the UN and the international community ... they've already been too high to bear for millions of Syrians who have fled their homes over the more than 2 years of bloody civil war. And the countries they enter are struggling to absorb the number of refugees. Today, we explore the fate of Syria's displaced.

Syria's Displaced: Vignettes of Refuge & Regional Tension

"Syria is facing the enormous risk of having a lost generation. It's not only 1 million refugee children, it's 2 million displaced children inside the country. And millions trapped in their villages and towns with bombs falling all around, many of these children have seen their houses being destroyed, many have members of their family that were killed, many had to walk for miles and miles to reach safety. We see the trauma, we see many that are unable to speak, that have a broken sleep, that have strange forms of behaviour. At the same time when we look at adolescence we see anger. This anger is not only bad for themselves, it's a danger for the future of the society. For the future of the region".

UN Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres

Syria's has lost much in its civil war -- it may now have lost much of its future. Antonio Guterres, the UN's high commissioner for Refugees confirms a million children have fled their homeland since the uprising began. They join the million adults who believe it's no longer safe to remain.

Syria's civil war: key facts, important players -- CBC News

Today we visit Syria's neighbours ... Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon where many Syrians have taken refuge. The refugees may have security, but they have plenty of other troubles, including impatient hosts. 

But first, not all displaced Syrians are refugees. Millions have left their homes but remain inside their country. We aired a clip from journalist Rania Abouzeid who has been in and out of Syria for years, and she visited less than a week ago.


About a quarter of the two million refugees who have left Syria streamed into Jordan. Most live in the Za'atari Camp - the second largest refugee camp in the world. Jordan is not an especially rich country -- but it's particularly poor in one vital resource: water. And the extra demand on that resource is one more reason the refugees are wearing out their welcome.

Freelance journalist Dale Gavlak has worked in Jordan for 10 years, in the capital, Amman. She says that Jordanians are less welcoming because the shortages of resources such as water, apartments, schools strained by the influx of refugees, are being felt by everyone.


Like Jordan, Turkey has seen tens of thousands of Syrians cross its border. While most Turks are sympathetic -- many are unsure whether the refugees have left all the violence behind. They worry the chaos of the civil war may slip across the border as well.

Dorian Jones is a journalist based in Istanbul, Turkey. He brings us stories from Hatay ... a Turkish border province where locals are torn between empathy and frustration. Dorian says there's the growing tension that Syrians are taking Turkish jobs and undercutting wages.


Lebanon is a small country that just over 4 million people call home -- and it's been overwhelmed by a million frightened Syrians.

Marjorie Middleton is a midwife and reproductive health specialist. From March to July this year she worked for Medicins Sans Frontier in Lebanon to set up a womens' health program with the Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley. Marjorie has witnessed the relations between Lebanese locals and Syrian refugees and says they are fraying and violence against Syrian refugees and women in particular is on the rise.

This segment was produced by The Current's Vanessa Greco, Sujata Berry and Theresa Burke.

Do you have thoughts you want to share on this discussion? Tweet us @thecurrentcbc or e-mail us through our website. And you can always call us toll-free at 1 877 287 7366. And if you missed anything on The Current, grab a podcast.

Comments are closed.