The Terrible Plight of Refugees

Syria opposition slams West's "double standards" over response to Ukraine war

The memories of the refugees linger, of walking for days in harsh weather, or losing lives in perilous sea crossings

Photo: The Massini family from Syria awaiting transport in the forest near the east Polish town of Kleszczele , October 22, 2021 [WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP via Getty Images]

02 March 2022 | Reuters | MiddleEastMonitor

Syrian refugee, Ahmad Al-Hariri, who fled the war in his country for neighbouring Lebanon 10 years ago, spent the last decade hoping in vain to escape to a new life in Europe, Reuters reports.

Watching European nations open their arms to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians in less than a week, the father of three cannot help but compare their fates.

“We are wondering, why were Ukrainians welcome in all countries while we, Syrian refugees, are still in tents and remain under the snow, facing death, and no one is looking to us?” he told Reuters in a refugee centre where 25 families are sheltered on the edge of the Mediterranean city of Sidon.

In the Arab world, where 12 million Syrians have been uprooted by war, critics ranging from Hariri to activists and cartoonists contrast the Western reaction to the refugee crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with the way Europe sought to hold back Syrian and other refugees in 2015.

Some recalled images of refugees walking for days in harsh weather, or losing lives in perilous sea crossings as they tried to breach Europe’s borders.

On Monday, four days after Russia launched its attack, the European Union said at least 400,000 refugees had entered the bloc from Ukraine, which has land borders with four EU states.

Opinion: Double standards in reporting of Ukraine’s refugees expose Eurocentric bias

Millions more are expected and the EU is preparing measures which would offer temporary residence permits, as well as access to employment and social welfare – a swift opening of its doors at odds with its response to wars in Syria and elsewhere.

By early 2021, 10 years after Syria’s conflict erupted, EU states had taken in 1 million Syrian refugees and asylum seekers, of which Germany alone took more than half. Most of them arrived before a 2016 deal in which the EU paid billions of Euros for Turkey to continue hosting 3.7 million Syrians.

Ukrainian refugees arrive in the Medyka region of Poland, on the border with Ukraine, after Russia's military invasion of Ukraine on February 25, 2022 in Medyka, Poland [Abdulhamid Hoşbaş / Anadolu Agency]
Ukrainian refugees arrive in the Medyka region of Poland, on the border with Ukraine, after Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine on February 25, 2022 in Medyka, Poland [Abdulhamid Hoşbaş / Anadolu Agency]

This time the welcome has been immediate.

“We have here not the refugee wave which we are accustomed to and we do not know what to do with – people with an unclear past,” Bulgaria’s Prime Minister, Kiril Petkov said, describing Ukrainians as intelligent, educated and highly qualified.

“These are Europeans whose airport has been just bombed, who are under fire,” he said. Bulgaria has said it will help everyone coming from Ukraine, where there are about 250,000 ethnic Bulgarians.

Last year, 3,800 Syrians sought protection in Bulgaria and 1,850 were granted refugee or humanitarian status. Syrians say most refugees only pass through Bulgaria to wealthier EU states.

Read: UN slams double standards by West towards refugees

Poland’s government, which came under heavy international criticism last year for pushing back against a wave of immigrants crossing over from Belarus, mostly from the Middle East and Africa, has welcomed those fleeing the Ukraine war.

In Hungary, which built a barrier along its southern border to prevent a repeat of the 2015 influx of people from the Middle East and Asia, the arrival of refugees from neighbouring Ukraine has triggered an outpouring of support and offers of transport, short-term accommodation, clothes and food.


10 Civilians Killed And Wounded By Saudi Army’s Targeting Of Saada

04 March 2022 | Yemen Extra

A number of 10 civilians were killed and wounded, last Friday, by the Saudi forces’ fire in Monabbeh and Shada districts, in the northern Yemeni province of Saada.

A security source confirmed that the Saudi army, with machine guns, targeted gatherings of citizens in Al-Raqo area in Monabbeh district, which led to the death of a citizen and wounding 7 others, including an African immigrant.

The source added that the Saudi army targeted separate areas in the bordering district of Shada with several rockets and artillery shells, resulting in serious injuries to two citizens.

The source explained that the Saudi enemy intensified its targeting of civilians during the last period, killing and wounding more than 80 civilians last February. The source added that these crimes reveal the ugliness of the Saudi army and its detachment from all religious and moral values ​​and principles.



James Porteous

James Porteous is an author, photographer and researcher. Clipper Media News is a daily publicatioin featuring news and views you can use.

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