After Germany set precedence, it is Italy to follow suit has it embraces and welcomes more than 100 Syrian refugees. Earlier, EU nations had shown extreme reluctance is accepting any refugees, even if this meant, taking back their own.
At the beginning of November, Ankara had made a bold statement that it intended to send back IS prisoners of war, back to their country of origin, even if their citizenship had been revoked.
As the US retracted its support to the Northern Syrian regions, European nations had reasons to be wary of a fact that more than 12,000 militants (including thousands of foreigners) being held in Syrian Kurdish prisons could escape. Ankara was systematically wishing to take control of Northern Syria and has been looking for support from Russia and recently NATO partners.
The fear was exasperated with a hunch that such prisoners would find reroutes into many parts of Europe, increasing chances of regional conflicts.
Since the last few years, Turkey has been homing Syrian war-torn refugees and has now outlived its capacity. It has repeatedly sent off a distress call to EU nations to take on some of its load, as a humanitarian act. This also becomes important because the promised funds to Turkey by the EU did not come through as expected, putting huge pressure on Turkish resources.
As many as 113 Syrian refugees have now descended from Lebanon-humanitarian corridors project of the Community of Sant’Egidio to Italy, making it possible for them to be re-homed. Of these, 30 are children as well. This safe passage has been organized and financed by the Community of Sant’Egidio, together with the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy (FCEI) and the Waldensian Evangelical Church.
Since 2016, the groups have successfully brought over 3,000 Syrians to Italy, France, Belgium and Andorra, 1,800 of them to Italy alone.
For the new arrivals, this network will provide housing and organize schooling for children as well as language classes. Within about a year, most families will begin to integrate into society.
This is a landmark move by another European Union country in helping with humanitarian crises of the worst the world has ever seen where the war-torn land of Syria has lost a huge population to war and even more to displacement.
In April 2016, the United Nations and Arab League Envoy to Syria announced official estimates of 400,000 that had died in the war. Based on Syria’s pre-war population of 20.8 million from 2011, this represented approximately 2% of Syria’s pre-war population. Sadly, over 500 children had been killed by early February 2012. Another 400 children were reportedly arrested and tortured in Syrian prisons. This was shared by UNICEF. By 2018, an estimated 21000 children had lost their lives. All claims were contested by the Syrian government.
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