The conflict in Syria between the government of Bashar al-Assad and various other forces continues to cause massive displacement within the country and across the region. According to new estimates from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of Syrian refugees has climbed to over 4 million and has placed enormous strain on neighboring countries.
A new Journal on Migration and Human Security article, “The Syrian Refugee Crisis: A Comparison of Responses by Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States,” authored by Nicole Ostrand, looks at the burdens and costs of the Syrian refugee crisis and considers how they have, or have not, been shared by the international community at large, and in particular by Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The degree of protection provided by the four states is modest in relation to that provided by neighboring countries to Syria, and far more could be done. This paper also argues that the international community as a whole has not sufficiently contributed toward alleviating the burden caused by the Syrian refugee influx, in terms of both financial assistance and refugee resettlement. It puts forward two general recommendations to reduce the strain on neighboring countries: increase the level of burden sharing by the international community as a whole and more evenly distribute the burden among industrialized states in Europe, North America and the Asia Pacific.