UN to resettle Syrian refugees in Europe, US
Refugee numbers have spiraled to 1.6 million after over two years of fighting in Syria between rebels and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, with most fleeing to neighboring Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZThe U.N. refugee agency said yesterday it’s in talks with the U.S., Germany and several other European countries to take in thousands of Syrian refugees.
Agency spokesman Adrian Edwards said U.N. and government officials are discussing the temporary resettlement of about 10,000 of the 1.6 million registered refugees from Syria’s civil war.
Edwards said the U.S. and Germany traditionally offer the biggest such help.
German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said his country has agreed to take in 5,000 Syrian refugees, but only a couple of hundred would gain a permanent home.
Edwards said that governments were due to hold talks in Geneva on potential resettlement programs later this month or in early July.
Reserved for vulnerable groups
He underlined, however, that resettlement was just one tool used in crisis situations, and that most Syrians who have fled still wanted to go back when the fighting ends.
“Resettlement is a category that is normally reserved for very vulnerable groups, very vulnerable individuals,” he said. “In any resettlement program from any country, you’re talking about tiny numbers compared with the overall refugee population,” he added.
There are some 80,000 resettlement places a year worldwide, compared with 15 million refugees. “We’re not at this stage announcing big resettlement programs (for Syria). We’re certainly nowhere near that at this moment,” he added.
Refugee numbers have spiraled to 1.6 million after over two years of fighting in Syria between rebels and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, with most fleeing to neighboring Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, as well as to Egypt. The U.N. has warned that the total could reach 3.45 million this year.
“The Syria situation, with 1.6 million refugees in the region, is placing enormous pressure on the immediate surrounding countries.
Nonetheless, the priority right now is to maintain asylum in that region,” Edwards said. “But we do think it’s important that countries outside the immediate region really show solidarity with the countries most affected by this crisis,” he underlined.
“The focus is on finding whether we can broaden expressions of solidarity from other countries, to go beyond simply financial help,” he added.