ORIENT I 2016: The regional refugee crisis in the Middle East: causes, current challenges and perspectives

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Dear ORIENT readers,

At present, Europe – and particularly Germany – is facing the greatest challenge of this century, so far confronted with a massive influx of refugees and migrants from the war-torn countries of the Near and Middle East. The ongoing civil war in Syria, the continuing bombing of all opposition-held territories by Assad forces and Russia as well as the intensified fight against IS are increasing the number of refugees ever further. It is the greatest refugee crisis in modern times, with more than four million Syrians fleeing their country as well as millions of internally displaced persons. More than a million are on the move from Iraq, and in Afghanistan the decreasing security is also leading to a massive refugee stream.

The refugee crisis has put many other states in the region under enormous pressure: Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan host large numbers. The UNHCR lacks the necessary funds to provide them with decent shelter, while the GCC countries are highly reluctant to provide financial assistance and help. The significant pressures on Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey demand a quick reaction and assistance, which is probably more urgent than bombing IS in Syria and Iraq. Only a political solution of the Syrian Civil war will stop this immense outflow of people.

This issue of ORIENT will deal with the manifold aspects of this continuing crisis. Dr. Luigi Achilli will focus on the situation of Syrian refugees and their decision to leave the region based on their experiences in Jordan. Following this, Dr. Rabih Shibli will shed light on the situation in Lebanon before Dr. Mona Christophersen, Maysa Ayoub and Dr. Kılıç Buğra Kanat deal with the same in Jordan, Egypt and Turkey respectively. Lastly, Dr. Omer Karasapan engages with the current situation of women in these developments and Prof. AKM Ahsan Ullah engages with the patterns of forced migration in the region.

I hope that the current issue of ORIENT will provide you with valuable insights and a variety of perspectives on the migration crisis in the region.

Dr. Gunter Mulack
Director of the German Orient-Institute



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