[JURIST] Syrian refugees are facing human rights abuses [press release] and destitution as they flee into Turkey, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] said Thursday. The report [text, PDF], “Struggling to Survive: Refugees from Syria in Turkey,” addresses hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who have faced live fire at the Turkish border and destitution inside Turkey, while the international community is reluctant to take financial responsibility for the refugee crisis. Even though Turkey has opened its borders to Syrian refugees, the Turkish government is reportedly struggling to meet the most basic needs of hundreds of thousands of refugees. Turkey is host to half of the 3.2 million women, men and children who have fled violence, persecution and other human rights abuses in Syria. So far Turkey says it has spent USD $4 billion on the refugee crisis while 28 percent of the $497 million pledged to Turkey in the UN’s 2014 regional funding appeal for Syrians has been committed by international donors as of late October. Turkey offers two border crossings in the 900 kilometer border it shares with Syria, often a long journey for many refugees. As a result, Syrian refugees have resorted to crossing at unofficial points and have been met with violence from Turkish authorities. AI claims this is a violation of international law. Inside the border, 220,000 of the 1.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey are living in the 22 well-resourced camps, which are currently operating at full capacity. The rest are left to fend for themselves, struggling to provide themselves with basic needs and a source of income. AI claims the international community has abandoned the Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The Syrian Civil War [JURIST backgrounder] began in 2011 when opposition groups first began protesting the Assad regime. The conflict has been highlighted by countless human rights violations [JURIST report] and the use of chemical weaponry, which has created mounting pressure among the international community to find an end to the conflict. In March the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic [official website] urged the international community to respond to recent and reoccurring crimes against humanity perpetrated by both government and non-government entities. The Islamic State [JURIST report], also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has also caused increasing international alarm over its human rights abuses since its insurgence into Syria and Iraq in 2013.