The so called “Islamic State” is a radical terrorist group which has seized large areas of territory in eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq. Its brutality and violence, including mass killings and abductions, beheadings and torture of members of religious and ethnic minorities, has resulted in the mass displacement of population and a growing humanitarian plight in the region, which has considerably aggravated the already disastrous humanitarian consequences of the ongoing armed conflict in Syria and the past conflicts in the area.
According to the UNHCR, the advancement of the “Islamic State” in the last six months triggered an internal displacement of almost 2 million people in Iraq which added up to 1 million IDPs and 275 000 Syrian refugees who had already been in the country. Syria’s internally displaced population amounted to 4.25 million, with 2.2 million Syrian refugees having already fled the country prior to the rise of the “Islamic State” which caused further displacements. Since 19 September 2014 alone, more than 138 000 refugees, mainly Syrian Kurds, fleeing “Islamic State’s” threats, have crossed the Turkish border and entered Southern Turkey.
Refugees from Syria and Iraq seek protection primarily in the neighbouring countries of the region, putting heavy burden on their reception capacities. Furthermore, over 100 000 have reached European countries, many of them after perilous travel organised by international trafficking networks, during which time many others lost their lives.
The Parliamentary Assembly cannot remain silent vis-à-vis this huge humanitarian crisis; it should contribute to identifying possible ways to respond to it and to improve the dramatic situation. It should call on member States to provide adequate international assistance, humanitarian aid, and refugee protection.