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America Can Aid Syrians without Military Intervention

September 16, 2013 in Economics

By Alex Nowrasteh

Alex Nowrasteh

The Syrian civil war has killed over 100,000 people and displaced as many as seven million — about one-third of Syria’s population. Russia’s offer to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control may stop American military involvement, but the humanitarian crisis remains. The good news is military involvement isn’t necessary to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis. Instead, we can allow Syrian emigration to the U.S.

The number of refugees grows daily. Non-Muslim Syrians, who make up 13-to-15 percent of the population, are at particular risk. Christians, Druzes, and the non-religious face attacks from many rebel groups who are motivated by a violent interpretation of Sunni Islam. For instance, rebels from the extremist Jabhat al-Nusra rebel group recently conquered the Aramaic speaking Christian town of Maaloula — forcing most of the population to flee with only a handful of nuns and orphans left behind.

Military involvement isn’t necessary to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis. Instead, we can allow Syrian emigration to the U.S.”

But Muslim Syrians are in grave danger as well. A mere 13 percent of Syrians — including President Bashar Assad and his government — are Shiites, compared to 74 percent who are Sunnis. Sunnis form the core of the rebellion, while Shiites generally support the government. Warring factions drawn along sectarian lines will extend and deepen the violence, killing non-combatants of all faiths in the cross-fire.

These conditions prompted a mass exodus from Syria, and it’s likely to continue. As the director-general of Sweden’s Migration Board, Anders Danielsson, has said: “The conflict in Syria has heated up, to put it mildly… we can assume that it’s not going to be resolved in the foreseeable future.”

Of the seven million displaced Syrians, two million have left the country altogether. So far, neighboring Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey have taken in more than 1.7 million of the refugees. Sweden has announced that it will grant permanent residency to the 14,700 Syrian refugees already there, as well as some subsequent arrivals. Germany has also decided to take in 5,000 Syrian refugees.

In contrast, in 2011 and 2012, the U.S. allowed just 374 Syrians to gain asylum status, while only 60 refugees were approved. The Obama Administration has announced plans to let in 2,000 refugees — but those are only promises. Syrians already in the U.S. are allowed to stay and work under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) — as are many Haitians, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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