As in Iraq, the internal war in Syria has forced hundreds of thousands of people to leave their homes. Some 155,000 Syrians have registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq or Turkey and another 14,000 are estimated to be in those countries awaiting formal refugee status. An additional 1.5 million people are displaced inside Syria. Again as in Iraq, where a decade of economic sanctions had already uprooted many people before the US-led invasion, an untold number of the Syrian displaced were already on the move before the 2011 uprising — due to the punishing drought that has afflicted the countryside since 2003.
CTV News of Canada recently hosted MER editor Rochelle Davis to discuss this under-reported story. Davis is author of the Woodrow Wilson Center report, Syrian Refugees: Lessons from Other Conflicts and Possible Policies, and (with MER photo editor Michelle Woodward) a photo essay documenting the plight of the Syrian displaced.