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The crisis in Syria has seen hundreds of thousands killed and millions displaced. The plight of Syrian refugees has become the leading humanitarian crisis facing the world.
The numbers are staggering, eclipsing all other wars in the past 25 years, according to Statista:
The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHRC) provides a deeper look at the 4 million refugees (not including the 7.6 million people displaced internally in Syria):
Where they have fled to:
And the continually mounting numbers of people attempting to escape the violence in their country:
The refugee crisis for Syrian began in 2011, according to MercyCorps, during the Arab Spring movement. In the city of Daraa, 15 children were arrested for anti-government graffiti. Starting on March 15, 2011, backlash protests sprung up all over the country, leading up to the “Syrian Day of Rage” in April.
President Bashar al-Assad's police and the military cracked down on the mostly peaceful protests, killing 50, including 15 from Daraa. Thousands of Syrians with anti-government sympathies were imprisoned or killed.
The violence continued and within a month, the first Syrian refugees fled the country.
Many escaped to Turkey, or other border countries and ended up in refugee camps.
As the years of conflict have dragged on, only more Syrians have flooded the borders of their country, only to be housed in temporary camps already at capacity.
The refugees live mostly off aid provided by the host country, or international charities. Yet still, these families lack many things such as warm clothes, safe housing, and opportunities to educate their children.
Even basic needs, like running water, go unmet.
While refugee camps provide a safe haven, many Syrians long to return home where they can raise their families in their own traditions. But between the violent regime and ISIS, it seems impossible for these displaced individuals to safely go back to Syria.
The Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute created an informative website on the Syrian refugee crisis which includes this helpful timeline: