The Humanitarian-security Nexus in Syria

The effect of years of conflict on desperate youthful refugees is a cause for concern, according to the report The effect of years of conflict on desperate youthful refugees is a cause for concern, according to the report © Flickr/christiaantriebert (creative commons)

September 2017
Humanitarian-security nexus in Syria report stresses need to address refugee conditions and support for safeguarding long-term regional security.

New York City-based The Soufan Center earlier this year produced a report on the situation in Syria. The 32-page report, titled “Syria: the Humanitarian-security Nexus” is aimed at raising awareness of the security issues directly and indirectly related to the ongoing Syrian conflict.

“The humanitarian and security crises cannot be addressed independently of each other. In fact, addressing either one in a vacuum will only prolong and contribute to policies that fundamentally misunderstand the dichotomous nature of the conflict. Only when the international community properly acknowledges the mutually reinforcing and co-dependent humanitarian and security crisis in Syria can it properly strategize how to achieve long-term peace and stability,” the report notes in its executive summary.

The report stresses that the question of international security is key to best deal with the Syrian refugee crisis, but that it cannot work without a strong focus on humanitarian factors, as the two go hand-in-hand.

“In this report, we argue that in the context of the Syrian refugee crisis, humanitarianism and security are mutually reinforcing aspirations, and we call for government policies and responses to the crisis that recognize the complementarity of these two issues,” the report states.

Drawing upon UNHCR data regarding refugee demographics, the report highlights the huge impact this has had on Syrians, especially on female and child refugees, who make up some 75% of total numbers. This data is further applied to the related challenges on education, youth and female rights, health and development, and the issues of exploitation, abuse, and overall security that the conflict and associated refugee situation.

The outflux of Syrians to neighbouring countries has added new stresses to these societies.

“Large influxes of people have the potential to destabilize society if not properly addressed. As the Syrian refugee situation has increased, instability in the host countries has also accelerated. It is important to recognize that each country faces its own unique challenges when it comes to dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis,” the report notes.

It concludes with four concise recommendations for the international community:

  1. Take Meaningful Steps Toward Ending the Syrian Conflict
  2. Fully Fund the Humanitarian Needs of Syrian Refugees
  3. Build a Preventative Firewall of Stability in the Middle East
  4. Equitably Share the Burden of Hosting Refugees


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