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The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Panel at GIN illustrates Refugee Crisis in Syria

Daniel P. Sullivan sitting on the left and Allan Jury on the right. Photo credits: Nicole Jehl

Three panelists and a moderator presented at the DC Global Issues Network Conference (GIN) about the Crisis in Syria and how not enough is being done to stop the war and to help refugees.

The panel included moderator Dr. Jessica Ashooh, Deputy Director of the Middle East Strategy Task Force for the Atlantic Council Rafiki Hariri Center for the Middle East, and the Panelists were Mr. Daniel P. Sullivan, the Director of Policy and Government Relations of United to End Genocide, Mr. Allan Jury, Vice President of the World Food Program and Naomi Steinberg, director of Refugee Council. They all came together to inform the GIN attendees about the refugee crisis in Syria.

The panel started by showing the audience what the crisis in Syria is all about in an animated video. Then the panelists introduced themselves and told everyone what they do and why they’re involved which was then followed by the moderator asking the panelists questions about the war and refugee crisis in Syria. After that, the attendees could ask them questions about the crisis in Syria.

One attendee even asked if the crisis in Syria could escalate to a WWIII. “Probably not,” Sullivan responded. However, from the reactions of the panelists, it is obvious that they think that not enough is being done by other countries to help out, especially the rich countries, according to Jury.

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“It’s just too difficult for rich countries to take 0.000001% of the refugees” Jury said, “What shocks me most is how little action is being taken”. However, the World Food Program has been able to provide assistance to about 5.5 million people, including people affected by the crisis in Syria, with the help of Jury.

The crisis in Syria has escalated into a large problem and the panelists are busy trying to help solve it. “We think of Syria all day, every day” Steinberg said, “They left because their homes are being bombed. They left because they are not safe … They left to save their lives.”

The refugee crisis in Syria started when Assad and the rebels started fighting. After that, many different sides appeared in the war. Among some of them are the jihadists, ISIS, the rebels, Assad and others. The different groups mainly have two different perspectives, a sunni perspective and a shia perspective. All those forces cause the Syrian civilians to be caught up in between the war which is why they need to flee. (For more information about the origin of the crisis, click here).

“The war has gone so far because there are a lot of players,” Sullivan says. “That’s why there is almost no end in sight.” This leads to people fleeing from Syria (refugees) into other countries which in turn leads to problems in those countries.

“This is the refugee crisis of our generation. We have never seen anything like this before and I hope we never see anything like this again” Steinberg said, “In total, we have let in 2700 refugees into the U.S. It’s pathetic.” “We have been welcoming the refugees from the start of our country. Not welcoming refugees now would be short sighted.”

*If you want to help out, Sullivan advises you join a local refugee resettlement organization such as the U.S. Refugee Council.

 By Thomas Lanning

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