Recently, hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees have traveled to Europe to escape the long and deadly civil war in Syria. The civil war in Syria has lasted since 2011’s Arab Spring protests where thousands demonstrated against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime resulting in a violent response. The violent response eventually escalated in to an armed rebellion between Syrian Armed Forces, Hezbollah, and other factions that were against ISIL, the Free Syrian Army, and the Free Syrian Army’s factions. According to the United Nations, this bloody civil war has caused between 220,000-300,000 deaths as of January 2015. The war has caused millions to travel abroad to find better lives, and many have flocked to surrounding countries, especially in Europe.
Among these European countries, Germany has accepted nearly 200,000 refugees this year. They expect this number to increase to 400,000-800,000 by the end of 2015 (The Guardian). Germany has urged all 28 of their member states to accept these refugees in their countries, including the Christian, conservative-led Hungary. Hungary is a major opponent of opening their borders to refugees because they believe that the Muslim refugees will alter their Christian society by building mosques and bringing their terrorist beliefs with them.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been one of the main opponents to allow Syrians to enter their country and Europe in general. He has stated that the Syrian refugees should “go back to where they come from”, but unfortunately “where they come from” is where bullets take children’s lives, people starve to death, and many are kidnapped and displaced every day (USA Today).
As a result, thousands have been stuck on trains and prevented from entering Hungary based on religious differences. Hungary has planned to heighten their security against these refugees by building a 13 foot high fence with Serbia that will be 110 miles long. Rather than looking at their migration as an act of desperation, Orban views it as an invasion. Prime Minister Orban stated that the Hungarian people “do not like the consequences” of allowing Muslims in to their country, referencing the 150 year rule of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries (USA Today).
As hundreds of thousands of refugees have flocked to Germany to escape, the German government has had no choice but to slow down the migration through establishing stronger border security measures. This block has also put pressure on E.U. member states to act. Germany and the United Kingdom have both introduced plans that will allow the Syrian refugees to be distributed across the member states of the E.U. This was a necessary measure on both of their parts because both nations were running out of space and supplies for the Syrian refugees. Although the migration has slowed down, the German government vows to continue to allow refugees into their country to help protect them.
In addition to the large number of refugees entering German borders, over 4,000,000 refugees have migrated to dozens of surrounding countries, including Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Greece. The war in Syria has caused a ripple effect across the region that cannot be ignored any longer as it is affecting all of the E.U. and the Arab World.
A good solution to the refugee issue may be to give aid and allow for the UN and E.U. to intervene in Syria. The civil war has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and has forced millions of individuals to abandon their homes and migrate to dozens of different countries. It is also important to recognize that this is not just a Syrian issue, but is now a regional issue that will test the infrastructure and stability of all countries affected and will soon test the cohesiveness of both the EU and the UN.
-Jordon Lee ’16, Junior Politics/Opinions Editor