On Sept. 10, President Barack Obama authorized airstrikes in Syria in an effort to combat ISIL, the militant Islamist group that has taken over large portions of Iraq and driven Christians from their homes. Many religious leaders, including Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi International, decried military intervention in Syria, hoping instead for a peaceful diplomatic solution.
Syria, which is still in midst of a three-year civil war, and Dennis said she feared more violence would only make matters worse for Syrians. Last week, the United Nations refugee agency released an update on the Syrian refugee situation in the weeks following the U.S. airstrikes.
According to the report:
- About a week after the airstrikes were authorized, 130,000 Syrian refugees crossed the border into Turkey. According to the United Nations, the majority of these refugees were fleeing ISIL attacks.
- Turkey is already home to more than 850,000 Syrian refugees.
- The Syrian city of Kobani, which hosts more than 200,00 internally displaced people, has, up until now, been relatively safe. However, after an ISIL siege of the city, a deluge of refugees from the city are expected to head to Turkey.
This map from The National shows airstrikes in Syria and Iraq from Sept. 23-28.
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