United Nations: Turning back Syrian refugees in the wake of the Paris attacks is “not a solution” and will pile huge pressure on neighboring Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, the head of the UN children’s agency has said.
Anthony Lake, the executive director of UNICEF, said in an interview yesterday that countries bordering war-torn Syria were already struggling with a massive influx of displaced people.
Turkey has taken in two million Syrian refugees, Lebanon more than one million and Jordan more than 500,000.
“If the borders shut and the pressures increase on Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, we risk putting more pressure on them economically, politically and strategically and that is not in anybody’s interest,” said Lake.
Closing borders “is not a solution,” he added.
France and other European countries are facing calls to deny entry to Syrian refugees after French investigators said that one of the Paris attackers may have slipped into Europe as part of the influx of asylum-seekers.
Lake called for a redoubling of efforts to end the war in Syria and help neighboring countries cope with the refugee crisis.
Syrian children in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon must be able to receive an education to develop skills “to rebuild Syria” and keep alive “the desire to find reconciliation in Syria,” he said.
Turkey is hosting 600,000 school-age Syrian children but only 200,000 of them are attending classes.