Iraq and Syria

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State de construction in Iraq and Syria

State de construction in Iraq and Syria

and their borders “arbitrary” and indeed that this is a major root of their long-term instability and current de-construction. Because this claim in highly contested and debated among scholars and observers of the region, I want to make clear exactly what I am contending (and what not). All states are constructed and in that respect are “artificial” if this is taken to mean man-made; yet as the debate between primordialist and constructivists/instrumentalism underlines, they cannot simply be made up, without being rooted in long shared traditions. The extent to which they are is likely to vary greatly and the differences between them only ever relative. Yet the agents and process of construction makes all the difference. Where the state is an organic product, home grown, chiefly the result of indigenous agency (borders in particular) and evolving over centuries, it is more likely to have roots, loyalty and durability; where, as in the Levant, it is imposed chiefly from without, with borders drawn according to the strategic interests of external powers, violating rather than satisfying identity, and in explicit defiance of majority regional opinion (as e.g. surveyed by the King-Crane Commission) they are less likely to command loyalty and likely to be contested. Having said this, from the founding of the system incumbent regime elites, with their strong interest in defending the sovereignty and separate existence of the states they governed; today majorities in Syria and Iraq probably continue to support the separate existence of their states. It is clear, too, that over time, identities started to attach to these externally constructed states; it is equally true however that their peoples have held multiple identities—to the sub-state, state and supra-state communities, which has tended to qualify and dilute identification with the state that dominates in “nation-states.” It is this that explains why a hundred years after the formation of the regional system, trans-states
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Written evidence on situation in Iraq and Syria, submitted by Dr Lars Berger to UK House of Commons Defence on Defence

Written evidence on situation in Iraq and Syria, submitted by Dr Lars Berger to UK House of Commons Defence on Defence

of the Western military campaign, in particular, would provide ISIS with the chance to frame such an attack as an act of self-defence which, actually, might have been inspired by a self-serving interest in outbidding al-Qaeda. Indeed, if ISIS were to suffer military losses at a scale that would substantially diminish its geographical grip on Sunni territories in Syria and Iraq, its leaders would have an incentive to maintain global relevance by morphing the organization into the kind of transnational global network pioneered by al-Qaeda. Al-Baghdadi’s audio message from 13 November 2014 offered first evidence of a shift in this direction. Not only does al-Baghdadi take note of the pledges of allegiance from radical Islamist groups across the region, he also calls upon his followers to ‘erupt volcanoes of jihad everywhere’ and assures them that their march will continue until they ‘reach Rome’. With the sheers numbers of Arab and Western volunteers involved and ISIS’s emphasis on indoctrinating young children the ripple effect of the rise and eventual demise of ISIS could last for generations (Brannen 2014).
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Can the EU help prevent further conflict in Iraq and Syria? CEPS Commentary, 25 November 2016

Can the EU help prevent further conflict in Iraq and Syria? CEPS Commentary, 25 November 2016

This new approach to EU foreign policy could be helpful in dealing with the deeply fractured Middle East. Circumstances, not preferences, dictate policymaking. The most imminent strategic goal is to contain and defeat Daesh. Here, the EU − as an international organisation with an underdeveloped military arm − is barely present. But individual member states are active in the air and on the ground: France, Germany, the UK and other EU countries have entered the US-led coalition against Daesh in Iraq and Syria. Some have done so in response to France’s activation of the EU’s collective self-defence clause in the wake of the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks. Other configurations of member states (including Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia and Hungary) are arming and training Peshmerga forces in Iraq, and supporting the EU’s humanitarian aid effort for refugees and internally displaced people in the ‘free’ Kurdistan Region of Iraq. This provides the stepping stone for the kind of resilience- building that the European Union could engage in. Close coordination by High Representative Federica Mogherini is key to a common sense of purpose among the EU’s collective, in tune with the US and local allies.
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Killing a Culture: The Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Iraq and Syria under International Law

Killing a Culture: The Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Iraq and Syria under International Law

The Resolution condemns the “barbaric acts of destruction and looting” committed by the Islamic State and calls for an “immediate halt” to the destruction. 136 It also calls for intensified efforts by States to prevent such destruction. 137 Although this Resolution speaks specifically to the destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq, it applies more generally to all intentional destruction of cultural heritage committed by the Islamic State. Vice-President of the General Assembly, Álvaro Mendonça e Moura, speaking on behalf of the General Assembly President, expressed concern “that barbaric and senseless attacks on irreplaceable [artifacts] of humanity’s shared cultural heritage were taking place with alarming frequency not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan, Syria, Mali and elsewhere.” 138 He further expressed that “by destroying invaluable cultural icons . . . extremists were exacerbating conflicts, instigating hostilities and perpetuating fear among societies.” 139
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Decline and decadence in Iraq and Syria after the age of Avicenna? : ʿAbd al Laṭīf al Baghdādī (1162–1231) between myth and history

Decline and decadence in Iraq and Syria after the age of Avicenna? : ʿAbd al Laṭīf al Baghdādī (1162–1231) between myth and history

Some of those may say that the medicine of Hippocrates and Galen was appropriate for the country of the Greeks, but that the lands of Syria [Bil¯ad al-Sh¯am] and Iraq do not allow for it [i.e., that the medicine of Greece is not appropriate for other regions]. Only someone who has not read the books of the ancients and has not tested their content at all [wa-l¯a jarraba shay᾽ an mimm¯a fı¯h¯a] could think this! Do you believe that when the stars circle [in the sky] they change the nature of people only, without [changing the nature of] plants and other living beings? If this were the case, it would indeed be amazing. If they changed everything, however, then the opium will be hot, and pepper cold; the meat of fish hot and the meat of the lion cold; the lion will be cowardly and the hare brave. Thus their opinions change about the nature of drugs and foods—whether derived from plants, animals, or miner- als! Moreover, we find that Hippocrates agreed with those [living] long before him about the nature of things. He tested [imta.hana] what people of old had said and found that in his day things had not changed; their [the ancients’] judgements still applied. Likewise, Galen tested all of Hippocrates’ opinions and found them to agree [with what he thought]; and between them there are six hundred years. People still test until today what Galen said and find it to agree [with what they observed]; and Galen lived roughly one thousand two hundred years before! 46
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Jihad between islamic jurisprudence and practice of the islamic state in iraq and syria

Jihad between islamic jurisprudence and practice of the islamic state in iraq and syria

In April 2010, the group appointed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as its new leader after a joint US and Iraqi air raid killed its previous leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. 40 Following the start of the Syrian civil war in January 2012, some ISIS militants established an affiliated group named Jabhat al-Nusra (al- Nusra) in Syria. 41 A year later on 9 April 2013, the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the merger of both ISI and al-Nusra groups and adopted the name of ISIS. 42 Even though, al-Nusra rejected the merger and reaffirmed its allegiance to al- Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, 43 ISIS moved to Syria in June 2014. 44 After entering into Syria, the group started fighting Syrian regime and all the rebel groups which refused to join it. By the end of June 2014, ISIS captured the southeastern province of Der al-Zawr, most of northern al- Raqqah, the countryside of Aleppo in north, majority of desert in south, Yarmouk refugee camp in southwestern Damascus, parts of the countryside of Homs in west and the southern Palmyra city in Syria 45 and most of Anbar in west, the entire northern Mosul in Neinawa and many cities in the northeastern Kirkuk, central Salahaddin and eastern Diyala governorates in Iraq. 46 On 29 June 2014, ISIS announced an Islamic Caliphate
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Homo Jihadicus  Islam in the former USSR and the phenomenon of the post Soviet militants in Syria and Iraq  OSW REPORT 2015 09 21

Homo Jihadicus. Islam in the former USSR and the phenomenon of the post-Soviet militants in Syria and Iraq. OSW REPORT 2015-09-21

First of all, any smaller group fighting in Syria and Iraq (all post-Soviet Jihadist groups can be regarded as such) must find a market niche of their own in the ecosystem of jihad. This process consists of several elements, such as: choosing a patron from among the larger organisations, adjusting the group’s possibili- ties to meet the needs of the latter, and, finally, proving the group’s usefulness. Only two organisations can currently play the role of patron (i.e. they possess adequate resources, including financial, control a large enough territory and enjoy minimal support from outside actors); these are the rivalling Jabhat al- Nusra and Islamic State. The potentials of these organisations are not equal –Islamic State is a much more powerful player, therefore it can provide much better conditions for volunteers and smaller groups without limiting their sub- jectivity. The patron-subcontractor relations are mutually beneficial – the pa- tron organisations strengthen themselves by gaining new units comprised of foreign volunteers and receive aid in the recruitment and training of militants, while smaller groups receive material (infrastructural and financial) support and a certain legitimisation of their activities (for example an assigned area of responsibility). In reality it means that larger groups govern the actions of the smaller ones, aligning themselves with them. In some cases this results in the patrons taking almost total control over them. For smaller groups this coop- eration creates the risk of them losing their identity, but it is the only possible option enabling further activity (mainly due to financial factors) 149 .
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The antibiotic resistome and microbiota landscape of refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan in Germany

The antibiotic resistome and microbiota landscape of refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan in Germany

Prescription and use of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture result in regional differences in prevalences of antibiotic resistances, as observed for differences be- tween Northern and Southern European countries, as well as between Europe and the Middle East or Asia [6]. At the same time, Europe is currently facing substantial refugee movements: in 2015, 476,649 refugees applied for asylum in Germany as a result of the civil wars in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan while in 2016, already 657,855 applications were received until September [7]. The UNHCR estimates the total number of Syrian refu- gees within the last 5 years to be more than 4.2 million [8]. With high prevalences of MDROs, these refugees might represent a reservoir or vehicle for MDROs when migrating to other countries. The quality and quantity of these resistances remain entirely unmonitored, with un- known consequences for the public health system.
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Costs and Collateral Damage of a Failure to Protect in Syria

Costs and Collateral Damage of a Failure to Protect in Syria

Then there is the geopolitical dimension to regional security that the Syria crisis upended. Power is conspicuously becoming more about outcomes than resources in the region. Iran has made big strategic gains in Iraq and Syria that impacts the Sunni-Shia balance. Iran’s deployed Shia militia, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, in Syria and elsewhere coupled with weak and failing states around it is a situation easily exploited. Iran has tipped the balance of power between Sunnis and Shia in place since the 1979 Iranian Revolution towards Shias. The future of the region will see Iran’s sphere of influence grow at the expense of Saudi Arabia and western influence. Egypt is weak, Turkey is undergoing considerable change, Libya has collapsed, Yemen is in state failure and Iraq is powerless – all to Iran’s benefit. As Aleppo returns to Al Assad, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) General Hossein Salami said: “It is now time for the Islamic conquests. After the liberation of Aleppo, Bahrain’s hopes will be realised and Yemen will be happy with the defeat of the enemies of Islam” (UNMID, 2016). The extent of the security threats, unease, unpredictability and fragility within the Middle East’s regional security complex is hard to overstate. Weapons are pouring into the region. Jane’s HIS report said the global defence trade in 2015 was worth record-breaking $65 billion principally driven by Middle East conflict (Solomon, 2016), which is drawing in great powers bringing dangers reminiscent of the Cold War. This is not the picture of an improving situation. Again, Syria alone did not cause this, but again, it appears to be the final brick that brought the international normative status quo wall down tumbling down. The consequences of the ‘in between’ place that the international community appears to have entered are unknown. Historically, multipolar environments are unstable. Recall the period preceding WWI.
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Dutch and Belgian Foreign Fighter Pathways. A first empirical analysis of Dutch and Belgian foreign fighters using a theoretical framework developed to map pathways and their (un)intended consequences in Syria and Iraq

Dutch and Belgian Foreign Fighter Pathways. A first empirical analysis of Dutch and Belgian foreign fighters using a theoretical framework developed to map pathways and their (un)intended consequences in Syria and Iraq

However, the causes and motivations for the conflict cannot be understood by just looking at the long-term goal of an Islamic caliphate or the toppling of current governments, but rather goes deeper into the Muslim religion and its sectarian nature. Many individual Sunnis from the Arab world have joined forces with Jihadist groups in Iraq and Syria. A number of prominent Sunni Islamists do not only propagate Jihad against Assad but see this as a battle against Shiism. Shiite Iran and Hezbollah have backed Assad in the conflict (Sullivan, 2014). This led to the involvement of a number of Sunni regimes in the Middle East who want to minimize the power and influence of Iran. Linear to the uprising against the government in Damascus and Baghdad, the power struggle between regional powers plays an important role in the intertwined and difficult nature of the conflict. The political rivalry among regional powers, fought out on Syrian and Iraqi territory almost as proxy wars, makes it seem as a character of a sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shiites (ABC News, 2016). The sharpened divisions between Sunni and Shia Muslims have negative consequences for social order throughout the Islamic world, where the geopolitical power struggle between regional powers plays an important role. Moreover, it can also lead to the creation or increase of tensions between Sunni and Shiite minorities in the West (AIVD, 2014).
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Leadership styles: the current leadership of syria

Leadership styles: the current leadership of syria

We raised a long questionnaire of several important points, with open answers to the questions to tens of thousands of Syrians inside and outside Syria. And 2030 people of different ages and party affiliations, ideological, religious as well as cultural and social background participated in answering the questionnaire. After around four years, of “Revolution” and “conspiracy”, as called by the opposition, and the government respectively, the Syrian Crisis has witnessed the entry of the foreign players in addition to the influx of fighters from all corners of the world to fight with the sides of opposition or the regime or even Islamic Militants which had their way to Syria. Recently, the American President Barack Obama has announced the formation of an international alliance with a number of Arab, European and regional countries to counter the challenges of the ISIS, that has taken control over large part of Iraq and Syria besides entering in confrontations with opposition and the Syrian regime, to become the third party in a conflict that turned into regional and international crisis with UN recognition. Here, we should take the views of Syrians into consideration to know their point of view regarding the ongoing in their country, as millions of them have been displaced or became refugee after the conflict.
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Protecting Cultural Property in Non-International Armed Conflicts: Syria and Iraq

Protecting Cultural Property in Non-International Armed Conflicts: Syria and Iraq

a great deal still hidden—of their extraordinarily sophisticated societies. Across Iraq and Syria, the landscape is littered with ancient sites and struc- tures, some dating back to this early period and still others to later periods evidenced by the influence of Hellenistic and Roman architecture. Ancient cities such as Aleppo and Damascus, which lay at the crossroads of major trade routes linking East with West, brim with tangible traces of past civili- zations dating back to the second and third centuries respectively. Across both Syria and Iraq, the plurality of human histories is chronicled in the archeological sites, the museums and in the towns and cities, some of which are now inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and Tentative List. Over the centuries the wars fought on this territory would have result- ed in the loss of a considerable inventory of human creativity and, with every war fought, less of the past—whether as knowledge or as a testament to human diversity—remains to be handed down to future generations.
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Syria. WFP s Response Inside Syria and in Neighbouring Countries: Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. Reporting Period: 19 April 3 May 2013

Syria. WFP s Response Inside Syria and in Neighbouring Countries: Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. Reporting Period: 19 April 3 May 2013

The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster in Syria is providing vital communications support to humanitarian organizations on the ground, including programming and the installation of radio equipment that enable staff to communicate whilst attempting to reach hotspot areas, a critical safety requirement. The cluster is also providing support to the UNDSS Security Information Operations Centre (SIOC) in Lebanon, which is responsible for security coordination for the UN community in Lebanon. This includes, upgrading of the telecommunications network, and expand- ing the overall reach of the network in eastern and northern of Lebanon. This now allows the hu- manitarian community to communicate in insecure areas of Lebanon, areas which host large and growing communities of refugees. Per request from the partners across the region, the ETC is planning for an extensive radio training program that will ensure that humanitarian staff support- ing the Syria operation are well equipped to use all communications systems now available.
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Terrorism and Beyond: Exploring the Fallout of the European Foreign Fighter Phenomenon in Syria and Iraq

Terrorism and Beyond: Exploring the Fallout of the European Foreign Fighter Phenomenon in Syria and Iraq

[3] This observation has also been made by Ben Rich and Dara Conduit. In an earlier article in Perspectives on Terrorism, the author of this article has applied the same focus. See Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn, “The Foreign Fighters’ Threat: What History Can(not) Tell Us” 8, no. 5 (2014): pp. 59–73. Thomas Hegghammer studied why jihadis choose to go abroad or stay at home, and the terrorist threat posed by returnees in: Thomas Hegghammer, “Should I Stay or Should I Go? Explaining Variation in Western Jihadists’ Choice between Domestic and Foreign Fighting”, American Political Science Review 107.01 (2013): pp.1-15. Daniel Byman studied the terrorist threat to Western countries as well as to the Arab world; see Daniel Byman, “The Homecomings: What Happens When Arab Foreign Fighters in Iraq and Syria Return?,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 0731, no. May 2015 (2015): pp.1–22. Other examples are: Brian Michael Jenkins, “When Jihadis Come Marching Home,” Rand Corporation, 2014; Jytte Klausen, “They’re Coming: Measuring the Threat from Returning Jihadists,” Foreign Affairs, 2014; Thomas Hegghammer and Petter Nesser, “Assessing the Islamic State’s Commitment to Attacking the West,” Perspectives on Terrorism 9, no. 4 (2015): pp.14–30; Andrea Barzon and Orsola Greco, “Fighting Abroad: The Foreign Fighters Phenomenon in the Scope of International Law, the ‘Blowback Effect’ and National Counter- Terrorism Measures,”, 2015, available at Available at SSRN, URL: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2690168, 2015.
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Europe and Syria: Diplomacy, Law and War

Europe and Syria: Diplomacy, Law and War

The facts do not bear out the distinction. Kagan was attempting to explain why the United States was willing to go to war against Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion, while Eu- rope seemed reluctant. The actual invasion force included troops from four States, two were European: United Kingdom and Poland. The fourth was Australia. The other major post-Cold War inter-state armed conflicts prior to 2003 were Afghanistan and Kosovo. Both included European States and very little diplomacy. France has likely used military force on more occasions than the United States during the Cold War and post-Cold War periods. 6 United Kingdom has a long list as well. France and United Kingdom led the
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Seeking International Criminal Justice in Syria

Seeking International Criminal Justice in Syria

9. Examples include Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Jan. 16, 2002, 2178 U.N.T.S. 145; Law on the Establishment of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia for the Prosecution of Crimes Committed During the Period of Democratic Kampuchea (2001), amended by NS/RKM/1004/006 (Oct. 27, 2004), available at http://www.eccc.gov.kh/sites/default/files/legal-documents/KR_Law_as_amended_ 27_Oct_2004_Eng.pdf; Law of the Iraqi Higher Criminal Court, No. 10 (Oct. 9, 2005), Official Gazette of the Republic of Iraq, No. 4006 (Oct. 18, 2005); Statute of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, S.C. Res. 1757, Annex, U.N. Doc. S/RES/1757 (May 30, 2007); War Crimes Chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina, State Court, Special Department for War Crimes in the State Prosecutor’s Office (Mar. 9, 2005), http://www.sudbih.gov .ba/?jezik=e.
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Why not in Syria? 'R2P not the rule but the exception'

Why not in Syria? 'R2P not the rule but the exception'

After the fall of Mubarak’s Egypt, the United States were afraid that their ally Israel would come into isolation and would be the target of the Middle East. Mubarak stood aside the conflict for years and was even criticized by the Cairo Anti-War Conference for the lack of action against Israel. Egypt played an important role in the region for the stability of Israel. Iran, which is outspoken about its fight against Israel and the infidel West, plays an important role in the crisis of Syria. It assists the Assad regime with intelligence and military help, and supplies the Syrian government with weapons. If the crisis continues, the fear for spill-over is high which can lead to overall chaos in the Middle East, this fear raise questions about the security of Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Israel, and Jordan. The position of the United States and Israel will become at risk. Therefore the interest of the US is a democratic transition of the Assad regime. This will ensure Israel’s safety and US’s position in the region. An escalation of the conflict will cause new pressures on the minority groups within Syria and outside if the fight leads to a regional conflict. Furthermore, the US perspective of the Syrian regime is that is a sponsor of terrorism. For years Syria has supported Hizbullah and Palestinian groups. In their war against terrorism, this is a US national interest. The crisis creates a playground for extremist groups like Al Qaeda. Another fear the US has is the possession of weapons of mass destruction by the Assad regime and Iran which can have effects for the regional security. But to go to war against Syria is probably not an option for the US. The wars against Iraq and Afghanistan have brought heavy costs on the US, not only financial but also in lives. Their attempts for solutions have been failed by the unwillingness of third parties (Sharp&Blanchard, 20012).
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Mapping War Crimes in Syria

Mapping War Crimes in Syria

denial of humanitarian aid and what appears to be the deliberate use of star- vation as a weapon of war; sexual violence, including sexual enslavement of Yezidi women and girls and sexual torture of men and boys in detention; and the intentional destruction of cultural property. Thousands of Syrians have disappeared without a trace, many of them victims of enforced disap- pearances. The emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Le- vant/Daesh (ISIL) introduced a new set of ruthless perpetrators who have brought the violence to an even more alarming level of brutality. In addition to war crimes under international humanitarian law (IHL), the Syrian people have experienced other crimes under international criminal law, including crimes against humanity, 2 summary execution, terrorism and, potentially,
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Syria Crisis. Highlights In Syria 4,299, % gap. Monthly humanitarian situation report. Outside Syria 1,311,854

Syria Crisis. Highlights In Syria 4,299, % gap. Monthly humanitarian situation report. Outside Syria 1,311,854

WASH In the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KR-I), all Syrian refugees in camps have access to the minimum necessary quantities of water. This includes Domiz (population: 58,500), Gawilan (2,720), Darashakran (7,500), Kawergosk (13,412), Qushtapa (4,373), Basirma (2,923), and Arbat (3,000) camps. The quality of water is routinely monitored in most camps and is showing that a high and increasing proportion of water has the proper amount of residual chlorine to disinfect the water and keep it clean during distribution. Piped distribution schemes are now being finalized in two camps, a trend toward piped supply of water from boreholes (and away from tankering) that will continue in all camps. In coming months, the proportion of piped water will increase, resulting in lower operating costs and greater reliability. At the largest camp, Domiz, where groundwater abstraction is not sustainable, UNICEF has obtained clearances from the KRG allowing for the design of a treatment works and transmission system to bring water from Mosul Lake, a sustainable source.
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Confronting Fragmentation! Syria Confronting Fragmentation! Impact of Syria Crisis Report 2015

Confronting Fragmentation! Syria Confronting Fragmentation! Impact of Syria Crisis Report 2015

The population status, 2014 survey results show that Turkey is the main host of Syrian refugees, with 37.5 per cent of all refuge sheltering there by the mid of 2014. Following closely behind, Lebanon has hosted a significant number of Syrian population, accounting for 35.6 per cent of Syrian refugees. Another 14.1 per cent of Syrian refugees were hosted in Jordan, and about 4.8 per cent and 4.6 per cent of them have found shelter in Egypt and Iraq, respectively (SCPR, 2016). The distribution of Syrian refugees across the neighbouring countries is expected to witness a change during 2015; with more refugees fleeing to Turkey from northern region due to the intensification of the armed-conflict and close geographic proximity. Moreover, the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon is expected to decline by the end of 2015 after the Lebanese government deciding to ban the inflow of Syrian refugees except for cases approved by the Ministry of Social Affairs in October 2014. It is worth noting that an increasing number of Syrian refugees are heading to Europe. However, this number is overestimated by different parties, and data shows that the total number of the first time asylum applicants from Syria in the EU-28 has reached about 73,000 persons during the first half of 2015 (Eurostat, 2015).
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