Syria has been at the forefront of the news for several years.
We know about the war raging within its borders.
We have seen the many refugees leaving and running into uncertain conditions about their travels and their eventual destination.
This week, the situation attracted a huge spotlight due to the launching of Tomahawk missiles, early Friday, April 7, by the United States on a base in western Syria that the United States says was used to launch Tuesday’s chemical attack, April 4, which left nearly 100 people dead and hundreds more injured.
The video explains the many details, factions, alliances and ‘players’.
More than 350,000 refugees have arrived in the 28 nation EU this year. There were 626,000 applications for asylum in 2014. This is in addition to the two million that Turkey has taken in.
Europe is “ground zero” for the refugee crisis.
Frontex, the agency in charge of guarding the EU border, estimates that about 340,000 migrants have tried to sneak into Europe in 2015 so far, almost three times as many as in 2014. Along with the surge in numbers, the demographics of the travelers have also changed.
These days, the bulk of them are Syrians fleeing violence at home, Afghans escaping their own ongoing civil war, Roma from Kosovo looking to avoid discrimination, and Eritreans fleeing a dictatorship comparable to the one in North Korea. Whereas in 2014, the bulk of refugees came to Europe through Italy from Libya and Tunisia, now more people arrive in Greece after crossing Turkey and the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Macedonia and Hungary have also seen a surge in traffic.
Although the reason for this shift remains uncertain, it seems likely that reports of frequent drownings on the long journey from northern Africa to Italy, and the increasingly volatile situation in Libya, have convinced many refugees to try their luck over land. (Kaelin)
Most of these are fleeing the civil war in Syria, but many others are also fleeing conflicts in Iraq, Nigeria, Somolia, and Sudan.
Five issues have recently brought the issue to the forefront of media attention
ONE: a growing number of people have drowned attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea with the support of smugglers in boats. The humanitarian plight was highlighted by photos of a fully-clothed three-year old boy who drowned and whose body washed ashore. Photos of the dead boy laying on a beach were widely distributed across the Internet.
TWO: many refuges who had made their way into Hungary (Hungary is the primary entry point in the EU for refugees) became stranded at the Keleti train station when Hungarian authorities were not letting trains pass to Austria because the refugees hadn’t registered.
THREE: the situation between police and the refugees has turned violent.
FOUR: 71 people were found dead in a smuggler’s truck Southeast of Vienna on August 27th.
FIFTH: there are daily complications from the flow of refugees.