C Explanatory memorandum by Mr Santini,
rapporteur for opinion
At present, according to the latest estimates of
the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA), there are no fewer than one and a half million people needing
humanitarian assistance in Syria. According to other sources, there
are around 40 000 orphans. According to the estimatesNote
the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR), some 48 583 people have fled to neighbouring countries:
23 702 to Turkey, 11 748 to Jordan, 10 804 to Lebanon and 2 329
. Unfortunately, given
the arrivals of new refugees, these figures are changing day by
The Syrians who have found refuge in Turkey live in camps
set up close to the border. The committee wishes to welcome the
hospitality extended by Turkey and takes this opportunity to congratulate
the Turkish authorities for having taken swift and appropriate action
to manage the arrivals of Syrian refugees and meet their needs and
for having reinforced their co-operation with the HCR so as to cope
with the influx of refugees in the best possible way. In this connection,
it refers to the visit to Antakya (Turkey) by the ad hoc sub-committee
on the large-scale arrival of irregular migrants, asylum seekers
and refugees on Europe's southern shores and its related visit report.Note
3 Unfortunately, since that visit the situation has changed
dramatically as, although at the time of the visit the Turkish authorities
expected the refugees rapidly to go back to Syria, at present their
number is steadily growing, in particular in the border provinces
of Hatay, Gaziantep, Kilis and Şanlıurfa.
4 The committee also notes that increasing numbers of Syrian
Kurds are seeking refuge in Iraq. Most of them go to live with relatives
or friends, whereas others live in camps open to the elements or
5 The committee is gravely concerned at the humanitarian situation
in Syria, especially the shortages of food, medication, fuel and
staple products, and at the threats and acts of violence against
the civilian population and medical and humanitarian staff.
6 It draws particular attention to the situation of persons
displaced internally following the escalating violence and above
all the plight of the women and children.
7 In these circumstances it can but endorse the comments made
by the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs,
Ms Valerie Amos, to the effect that humanitarian aid must become
the key concern for everyone and those of the United Nations emissary's
spokesperson, Ahmad Fawzi, calling on Syria to allow the opening
of “humanitarian corridors”.
8 It welcomes the European Union initiative of allocating an
additional budget of 7 million euros to fund survival aid for those
who have been injured or forced to flee the violence being perpetrated
in the country, bringing the European Commission's total contribution
to 10 million euros.
9 The refugees' living conditions nonetheless vary depending
on the host country. In Lebanon, for example, there are no Syrian
refugee camps but there are Syrians who have fled the conflict.
According to some sources, those that cross the border do not wish
to register themselves for fear of reprisals.
10 The committee also wishes to draw attention to conditions
in the camps and calls on the States concerned to offer decent living
conditions and also to ensure that the children and adolescents
can continue their education.
11 The committee unreservedly supports the United Nations appeal
and calls on the member States to take the necessary measures to
ensure that the refugees can benefit from international protection
and to act in a spirit of solidarity, providing all the necessary
assistance, since the vast majority of these refugees are in an extremely
insecure situation and have no financial resources.
12 Lastly, the committee draws the attention of Council of Europe
member States and non-member States to the risk, should the situation
last, of mass arrivals of refugees not only in the countries bordering
on Syria but also in other countries.