Volume 31
Issue 3
Spring '17

Protecting Syrian Refugees: Short Term Solution to Unsustainable Burden and the Necessity of Eliciting Aid from the Global North

Written By: Ahmad El-Gamal


The Syrian Civil War has led to one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time. The war has left Syria ravaged and left hundreds of thousands of people dead and millions without a home.1 This Note will examine the failure of the international community to ease the burden on the Middle Eastern nations who have taken the extreme majority of the refugee population throughout the Syrian refugee crisis. This is a pressing issue because the nations currently flooded with refugees cannot sustain such a sharp increase in their populations and still fulfill their obligations to their people. This has already led to public backlash in multiple nations which has negatively affected the protections that host governments were providing to Syrian refugees at the outset of the crisis.

This Note will argue that it is necessary to orchestrate a cohesive effort from the international community to share the costs of the crisis with these nations in order to protect Syrian refugees. Firstly, to establish that the current situation is untenable, this Notewill examine the state of refugees within the nations surrounding Syria, namely Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. It will also look at the international response to the crisis and make a statement about how the lack of aid has caused the three host nations to become more inhospitable towards the refugee community. The Note will also briefly discuss the potential of creating an UNRWA-like organization to manage non-essential services and provide long-term benefits to the refugee population. Finally, the Note will examine how it may be possible to use the soft law doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect to galvanize the international community into increasing aid to keep up with the number of refugees.

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1. See I Am Syria, Death Count in Syrai (Nov. 2016), http://www.iamsyria.org/death-tolls.html; Priyanka Boghani, A Staggering New Death Toll for Syria’s War-470,000 (Feb. 11,2016) http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/a-staggering-new-death-toll-for-syrias-war-470000/; Anne Barnard, Death Toll From War in Syria Now 470,000 (Feb. 11, 2016), http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/12/