What You Want To Know About Syria, Without Having to Embarrass Yourself and Asking

This summer it was hard to not hear about the Syrian migrant crisis, no matter what means you took to avoid hearing the depressing news. While most people know that there is a sudden influx of Syrians in Europe, erupting a thousand new problems for the world, they don’t all know why that influx is happening.

On March 2011 violence erupts in the city of Daraa, as a group of teenagers and children are arrested for political graffiti. Demonstrators were protesting against president Bashar Al-Assad’s 11-year regime, which had directly followed his father’s 30-year reign, when the government responded. Starting off by silently killing the peaceful protesters, security forces began a string of kidnapping, rape, killing and torture of activists and their families, many of whom were children, according to bbc.com.

This was the start of the civil war.

Since then, freedom fighters, also dubbed as rebels, have fought hand and tooth in the sweltering desert conditions. The Syrian National Army responded with barrel bombs and the use of illegal chemicals against civilian populations. The UN is currently reviewing several accusations against the Syrian National Army, which may have committed War Crimes or Crimes against Humanity, according to nytimes.com.

To add to the already bleak situation, ISIS has taken advantage of Syria’s crippled state to move in and begin pushing its own agenda. ISIS has notably barbaric warfare techniques, such as mass beheadings, according to cnn.com.

With the situation growing more and more dire, many Syrians have to face a near impossible decision: live in their homeland and most probably die in a gruesome way, or leave everything they know and escape.

As of August 2014, the UN registered 619,000 refugees in Jordan, 815,000 in Turkey and 1.3 million in Lebanon. With Syria’s neighbors bursting at the seams, Syrians quickly realized that they would have to take the next step in their migration, a journey to Europe.

Charities have estimated that a near 20,000 people have drowned while trying to cross the Mediterranean. One poignant death was that of Aylan Kurdi, a toddler who washed upon the shore of a Turkish beach.

Since the migration, different EU countries have had varying opinions on the number of asylums they would grant. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany is expected to take in 800,000 refugees in this year, according to reuters.com. Other countries like Hungary have been more hostile, putting up razor wire barbed fences to prevent the migrants from journeying Northern Europe, where there are more lenient asylum policies.