Syria’s neighbours are warning that they are overwhelmed by the number of refugees from the war-torn country.
Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey have all told an international conference that an unbearable strain is being put on their countries. There have been calls for other nations to contribute more money and take on a greater share of the burden.
Hosting the event in Berlin, Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said attempts to fight the “murderous rampage” of ISIL extremists would fail without a solution to the refugee problem.
Germany has led the way in Europe by taking in 70,000 refugees and giving nearly 650 million euros in aid
Jordan’s representative told the conference that it had taken one and a half million Syrian refugees and economic migrants.
“We are approaching, as I mentioned, host-country fatigue in which the limit of our ability to address the needs of Syrian refugees is being tested and has already been reached,” said the Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.
More than three million Syrian refugees have registered with other countries.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Tammam Salam said a “daily tragedy” was affecting refugees and the impoverished communities hosting them.
“Despite the existence of makeshift camps, 85 percent of Syrians reside within villages or towns in regular dwellings. Many have started small commercial ventures, bakeries, groceries, shops of all sorts have flourished without permits or licences, sometimes unfairly competing with Lebanese merchants,” he said.
Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister Naci Koru said his country had taken in 1.6 million refugees at a cost of more than three billion euros. Yet it had received less than 200 million euros in aid from other countries – far short of its expectations.
He warned that the threat from ISIL meant that “we are faced with the risk of further humanitarian disasters and continued large-scale movements of Syrians towards our borders”.