RPW 2ND ANNUAL REPORT | NOVEMBER 2021: Syrians Trying to Survive in Lebanon & Syria
The ongoing conflict in Syria has resulted in the largest forced displacement crisis in the world. 6.6 million Syrians have fled the country and a further 6.7 million have been internally displaced within Syria since 2011. The vast majority of refugees from Syria are hosted in neighboring countries, which places an unequal and unsustainable responsibility on these countries compared to countries further away. One of these neighbouring countries is Lebanon, which is currently experiencing overlapping economic, health, and political crises, which have overwhelmed the country’s limited resources and put a huge strain on people who live there.
Despite the continued lack of safety in Syria - and devastating deterioration in conditions for refugees and host communities in Lebanon - international interest, cooperation, and funding are waning. Harmful practices - such as pushbacks at European borders, and policies that deprive Syrian refugees of protections - are increasing. It is essential that all actors recognise the continuing risks and pressures refugees from Syria face, and to take ambitious steps, in partnership with locally led civil society organisations (CSOs), to ensure durable solutions for the Syrian forced displacement crisis.
Since 2019, the Refugee Protection Watch (RPW) coalition has conducted research into the conditions inside Syria and Lebanon in order to analyze whether safe, voluntary, dignified, and informed return to Syria is currently possible. Furthermore, RPW has been assessing the protection risks which returnees to Syria, and refugees in Lebanon, face, and advocating on related protection and other human rights issues.
RPW employs qualitative face-to-face research in Syria (in Damascus City, Rural Damascus – including Douma – and Homs) to assess the situation for refugee returnees to Syria. RPW also engages in quantitative online research across Lebanon with a large group of refugees from Syrian and Lebanese host communities. The UNHCR Protection Thresholds and Parameters for Refugee Return to Syria (UNHCR Protection Thresholds) are used as the main analytical framework through which this research is conducted. RPW aims to assess and clarify respondents’ current living conditions, experiences and perceptions of return, and prospects for the future.