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Mapping: The Flight of Syrian Refugees


ISSUE:  Fall 2014

Not long ago, Syria’s prospects were looking good—tourism was rising, restrictions on the economy were being relaxed, and a historically icy relationship with the United States was (very) slowly thawing out. But the Arab Spring protests that began in late 2010 triggered a series of events that would reverse that progress and plunge Syria into a devastating civil war. As a result of those protests, some Middle Eastern and North African governments were dismantled. Others, including Syria, began campaigns of violent suppression. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces were particularly brutal in cracking down on protesters. Since 2011, an estimated 200,000 Syrians have died from the conflict within their borders, and close to half of the country’s residents have been uprooted. Roughly 3.5 million people are categorized as “internally displaced,” while 3 million have fled the country. This map, based on figures provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), focuses on refugees being monitored by the UN in the countries that border Syria. No doubt these totals will have risen since this printing, as the situation shows no signs of improving.

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