The eyes of the world ought to lie on Syria to uncover the main causes of the refugee crisis. According to several statistics conducted in the last two years, the Syrian refugees form the largest proportion of arrivals to Europe.
Syrian people living in a turmoil in their country for more than four years have lost hope for any chance for a peaceful solution. The refugees did not only lose hope to live peacefully in their home countries, but also to seek a respectful safe haven in neighbouring Middle Eastern countries. Lebanon, a small country of 1,0452 km², already welcomed approximately 1.2 million Syrian refugees, knowing that already half a million of Palestinian refugees are distributed in refugee camps since 1948. Its weak economy, further burdened by the huge number of refugees (1.6 million of Lebanon’s population of 4.5 million are refugees), and own turbulent political situation made it impossible for Lebanon to welcome more refugees. Moreover, Iraq, the other neighbouring country, is facing a similar tragedy to Syria with a disastrous civil war. Moving to Jordan and Turkey, both countries do not have the capability to accept the entrance of more refugees and to ensure education to Syrian children.
The vast majority of refugees in the adjacent states do not have the right to work and many of them are not recognised as refugees. According to Turkish official statistics, approximately 400,000 Syrian children currently living in Turkey are outside the education system.
With most of the rich countries in the Arab Gulf unwilling to welcome the huge number of Syrian refugees, adding to the inability of neighbouring countries to carry the burden, Europe became the safe haven for Syrians searching for a brighter future. To combat the causes of the refugee crisis, it is essential to look back to the political developments that occurred in the Middle-East starting from 2011. The rise of protests against the military and one-party regimes that governed the Middle-Eastern nations for most of the last half of the 20th century led to a brutal reaction by these dictators. In Libya, Qaddafi used all his military capabilities, even airstrikes, to stop the peaceful revolution occurring in his country.
Islamist terrorist organisations benefited from the failed state in Libya to infiltrate this country and render the situation even more complex. The circumstances were somehow similar in Yemen and more catastrophic in Syria.
The Assad regime in Syria liberated Al Qaeda prisoners, used barrel bombs, and even chemical weapons against civilians to protect the Baathist military state. The events in Syria, following the 2011 revolutions, may be considered one of the greatest tragedies in the world after the Second World War. By recalling these events, the solutions should be clear enough, there should be an end for the one-party military regimes in the Middle-East. A set of priorities should be settled by the decision makers in the EU to prevent the catastrophic situation in the Middle East to move into the heart of Europe.
First of all, a re-evaluation of the EU’s strategy in the Middle-East process should be made. Bombing ISIS with airstrikes will not resolve the Syrian civil war which has now turned international.
Even if the EU and USA supported Syrian moderate militias to capture the lands occupied by ISIS, only a small part of the refugee crisis will be solved. The barrel bombs hitting even hospitals in Aleppo and other Syrian villages are the main cause for Syrians not to return to their homeland, fearing for the safety of their families. Assad’s and Russian aircrafts both ensure safe movement for theIranian militias and Hezbollah may be regarded as the strongest military force on the ground in Syria nowadays. Their entry into Syrian land and space will prevent any solution for the refugee crisis. Furthermore, the demotivation of the EU, its Member States and the USA to engage in the Syrian crisis is giving the Russians more confidence to use more power against powerless Syrian civilians. European states and the Western world are ata crucial juncture to put an end to this tragic war causing the flow of thousands of refugees, which in turn may affect European political stability. Using relative power to enforce no-fly zones in Syria in addition to ensuring safe zones in different Syrian regions are the first two steps that might give hope for Syrian civilians to return home. The next step will most probably be to work with moderate Syrian forces in order to be able to replace the current Syrian regime and curb the presence of ISIS in the torn country.