Friday

20th Sep 2019

Lack of funding may force Syrian refugees into Europe

  • Refugee camp in Jordan: Some 200,000 people fled the city of Aleppo and the surrounding areas over the weekend (Photo: unhcr.org)

Neighbouring countries surrounding war-ravaged Syria may seal off their borders if they can no longer absorb the increasing number of refugees, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) representative to Jordan, Andrew Harper, told EUobserver on Tuesday (31 July).

"If countries feel they cannot absorb the number of refugees, they have little choice but to close the borders," he said.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Refugees will be forced to return to Syria or go elsewhere like Europe, Harper explained.

On Sunday, Jordanian authorities opened up a new camp on the border to ease pressures on border sites hosting thousands of Syrian refugees. The camp, located in northern Jordan, can accommodate 113,000 if required. Local Jordanian communities are also aiding the refugees but are now stretched beyond capacity.

"The EU is providing some funding but we are in desperate need of more money. We hope they are able to provide support so we can help. We are basically running out of money as we get it," said Harper.

Some 1,500 refugees are arriving daily in Jordan, crossing over at night from the Da'raa region in southern Syria. Reports are emerging refugees are being fired upon, the majority of whom are women and small children coming primarily from towns and cities near the border. Last week, a surge in refugees from Damascus also arrived in Jordan.

"We are trying to mitigate the costs of the camps and unless Jordan receives the money it is likely to close the border. The refugees will be forced back into Syria or elsewhere," said Harper. There is a need of an additional $12 million to keep the camps operational, he estimated.

200,000 flee Aleppo

Fierce violence over the weekend in Syria's largest city, Aleppo has forced an estimated 200,000 residents to flee, with many seeking refuge in Turkey.

The past four days have also seen a daily exodus of around 2,000 Aleppo residents making their way up across the Hatay border and on into Turkey. Snipers and roadblocks may be hindering their way.

So far, around 70,000 Syrian refugees have sought formal protection in Turkey. Turkey, which is managing eight camps, plans on erecting another two within the next three weeks, each with a capacity to house 10,000 refugees.

Meanwhile, Greece has deployed an additional 1,800 border guards on the Turkish border. Greek public order minister Nikos Dendias told the Associated Press on Monday that Syria poses "a major concern" for Greece.

Cyprus, which is located around 100km from the Syrian coast line, has not experienced any surge of refugees. The vast majority, said Corina Drousiotou of the NGO Future Worlds Center based in Nicosia, remain in Turkey.

But the few Syrian refugees who have attempted to enter Cyprus do so first by landing in the Turkish Republic of Cyprus before walking across the green line that splits the island in two.

The green line is not officially recognised as a border and is sparsely guarded.

"This makes it easy for smugglers to pass persons at various points. Cyprus is not facilitating Syrians in any way, either those already here or others who may have approached the Embassy in Damascus," said Drousitou in an email.

The European Commission, for its part, has committed €40 million in humanitarian aid inside Syria and in support to the refugees.

Of the EU's humanitarian aid, about 40 percent goes for the refugees from Syria in Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan. A number of EU member states have also mobilised more than €27.9 million, says the European Commission.

"Syria is sliding into a large scale humanitarian tragedy that brings back awful memories of Ex-Yugoslavia. For the sake of people subjected to daily violence and horrors, we must not let this happen," said EU aid commissioner Kristalina Georgieva.

Frontex, the EU's border agency, says some 715 Syrian refugees were detected attempting to enter the EU in the first three months of 2012; a five-fold increase compared to last year. Of those, the vast majority were crossing into Greece from Turkey.

UN agrees to new Syria plan

The UN, including Russia and China, have called for a transitional government in Syria. Meanwhile, Turkey has sent warplanes to the Syrian border as tensions escalate.

Greece spooked by Syrian refugees

The surge of Syrian refugees into Turkey has spooked Greece into deploying 1,881 additional guards on its border.

Feature

Back from hell, back from Syria

The West should give the Free Syrian Army food and anti-aircraft defences, one EU parliament official says after visiting the war torn country.

News in Brief

  1. Austria to veto EU trade deal with South America
  2. Brexit minister asks EU for 'flexibility' to secure a deal
  3. Kovesi has 'sufficient majority' for prosecutor post
  4. France, Finland give UK ultimatum for Brexit plan
  5. Minsk talks bode ill for EU's peace summit on Ukraine
  6. Poll: Poland's nationalist rulers to win October election
  7. Irish lawyers clash with EU commission in Apple case
  8. NGOs take aim at EU smartphone pollution

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Opinion

Time to pay attention to Belarus

Belarus may be hosting the European Games, but Vladimir Putin is not playing games when it comes to Belarus' independence. The West needs to get serious as well.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  2. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  3. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  4. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  5. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants
  6. Europe's refugee policy is test of its true 'way of life'
  7. A new Commission for the one percent
  8. Juncker: No-deal Brexit 'palpable'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us