As the Syrian refugee crisis continues into sixth year, over five million Syrians have been forced to flee from their country, and over six million have been internally displaced, according to the UN office of the High Commissioner of Refugees. This crisis is ongoing, as Syria continues to be torn apart by civil war and terrorist organizations. There have been significant advances in the fight against ISIS in the region, but it is still far from being safe. However, even as millions of people live in camps or temporary homes, most of the world turns their eyes away, ignoring the situation.
Photo: Phil Botha on Unsplash
After the summer of 2015 when the refugees and migrants made international headlines for their movements through Europe, the spotlights on refugee issues have dimmed. It appears that, unless these people continue to flow through Europe, the rest of the world does not care. However, millions of people still live in total uncertainty. These people do not know if or when they will be able to return home, and they may not know the location or status of their family members. A generation of Syrian children have now spent their entire lives as refugees, or as kids living in a war zone.
The profound effects that this war and humanitarian disaster will have on Syria’s future are coming to light. High levels of stress and depression due to the traumatizing ordeal they’ve lived through are becoming very common. Many girls are becoming child brides because their families see no alternative. Children are not receiving proper education. While accurate numbers are impossible to come by, it’s likely that only about half of the pre-war population of Syria is still living in the country. Meanwhile, surrounding countries are bearing the brunt of the refugees. Lebanon, which had a pre-war population of about 4.5 million, is now home to over 1 million refugees.
It is important to remember the continued suffering of these people even as the media coverage dies down. Living in a world with such a fast news cycle can make it easy to forget that the stories in the news are about real people. For many people, their daily life is a constant struggle, and many Syrians have been in this state of limbo for years.
Hi, my name is Kathryn Kuhar and I am a 19-year-old sophomore at Harvard College studying Government. A fun fact about me is that I’ve lived in Hawaii, California, Belgium, and Turkey.