In a month Syrians will mark the tenth anniversary of the start of their uprising against the brutal Assad regime. The Syrian conflict has contributed to the largest refugee crisis since World War II. From its pre-civil war population of 23 million, there are now 5.6 million Syrian refugees, mostly in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Another 6.7 million are displaced inside Syria. Almost half the pre-war population needs humanitarian assistance, according to U.N. relief agencies. With winter upon us, human misery is skyrocketing, further compounded by rampant coronavirus outbreaks that are deepening poverty among the displaced.
The Trump administration pressured Assad's government with sanctions and deployed U.S. troops in eastern Syria, but no political settlement is in sight.
The movement of a million Syrian refugees toward Europe in 2015 demonstrated the political destabilization that spring out of Syria's humanitarian crisis. More destabilization and human suffering is certain unless the Biden administration is ready to respond to Russian efforts that would impede aid flows and reinforce Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Most urgent is ensuring humanitarian aid to almost 3 million displaced Syrians in opposition-controlled northern Syria, who won't return to their homes because of the vengeful Syrian secret police services.
Photo: Muhammed Said/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images