Blogs by Huda Orfali
2/5/2007 10:25:32 AM
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Since the American invasion of Iraq, the US has admitted only 466 refugees while Syria has admitted over a million refugees in a country that has a population of 18 million. The US and international agencies should help solve this humanitarian crisis caused by the aftermath of the American invasion and sectarian violence.
The flood of Iraqi refugees has overburdened the constrained Syrian economy. Housing prices in greater Damascus have risen by 300% over the last three years, in part, due to refugee pressure. Food prices have also risen dramatically. Syrians complain about overcrowding at some schools in the Damascus area, which have reportedly admitted up to 28,000 Iraqi children. Another worry is the dramatic rise in crime rates, which is blamed on Iraqis.
Refugees International president Kenneth H. Bacon wrote in a recent op-ed:
Syria is the last country in the Middle East to leave its borders open to Iraqi refugees. The United Nations estimates that 1.8 million Iraqis have sought refuge in the region, and Syria and Jordan host the largest concentration. It can't maintain its open-door policy without international support. Refugees already strain social services. Yet, the international response to the Iraqi refugee crisis has been dismal. Despite numbers that rival the displacement in Darfur, there has been scant media attention and even less political concern. The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees is doing little.
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Iraqi Refugees - Monday, February 05, 2007
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