European countries are scrambling to decide what military resources they will commit to the campaign against ISIS, but what about help for the victims of these jihadists.
The continuing conflict has led to an unprecedented number of people fleeing their homes in Syria and Iraq. While Europe has taken in thousands of refugees, hundreds of thousands have found temporary shelter in neighbouring countries that struggle to deal with the influx.
The European Parliament has been calling for more action to help these refugees. "Only 4% of Syrian refugees have found shelter in Europe whereas Lebanon a country of 5 million, is hosting 1 million Syrians," said EP president Martin Schulz during a speech in Lampedusa a on 3 October. "Yes, we can do more. Especially, if we act together and shoulder our responsibilities together."
Last year alone Syrians accounted for 26% of the nearly 70,000 asylum seekers who were granted refugee status in the EU. However, this is still only a fraction of the more than 3 million Syrian refugees the UN estimates there to be , calling it the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era.
MEPs encouraged member states to continue providing substantial humanitarian assistance to the populations affected by the Syrian conflict in a resolution adopted in April . The same month, the budgets committee approved an extra €187 million for urgent humanitarian aid, including assistance to Syrians .
The European Parliament will highlight the issue again on Monday 13 October when its human rights committee will hold a hearing to discuss the situation of refugees in Syria, Iraq and the neighbouring countries.
The photo shows Syrian refugees on their way to Turkey. Thank you to European Commission DG ECHO for making it available.