Nowhere to go for Syrian refugees?

A Syrian woman with a child register at a U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees center in Lebanon. Turkey has put a cap on the number of refugees it is willing to host. Photo by: UNHCR

Syrians fleeing the violence in their country may soon have nowhere to go: Neighboring states are becoming increasingly overstretched and hesitant to host more refugees.

Turkey has reportedly put a cap on the number of refugees it is willing to host. Ahmet Davutoglu, the country’s foreign ministry, has been quoted as saying that Turkey “will run out of space to accommodate” refugees if their number surpasses 100,000. He suggested that the United Nations many need to establish a “safe zone” within Syria for refugees, Reuters reports.

Meanwhile, in Jordan, UNICEF has highlighted the need to expand aid operations in order to provide basic services to a steadily increasingly number of refugees. Most Syrians crossing to Jordan are accommodated in the tent camp of Za’atari, which is prone to sand storms and lacks natural shade.

In Lebanon, at least one aid group has suspended its operations due to security concerns. Members of ShelterBox have been in touch with Lebanese ministers to help facilitate the delivery of shelters to Syria. The operation, however, was put on hold following reports of kidnapping and violence in Beirut that is believed to target citizens of countries deemed supportive of Syrian rebels, the nongovernmental organization said in a news release.

“Having found no other secure routes for ShelterBox aid in to Lebanon, we reluctantly made the decision to wait for a better chance and focus our efforts on Jordanian routes,” Phil Duloy of the group’s Syria response team explained.

There were approximately 170,000 Syrian refugees living in Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon as of Aug. 16, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Of these, more than 61,000 were in Turkey, 46,898 in Jordan, and 46, 672 in Lebanon. Iraq is hosting some 14, 129 refugees, according to UNHCR.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.