2021 marks a decade of conflict in Syria, widespread destruction, and mass displacement of 6.7 million Syrians internally and 6.6 million refugees worldwide, including 5.6 million in neighboring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, and Iraq (UNHCR, 2021). The humanitarian crisis is still ongoing, leaving detrimental effects on the lives of Syrians who have been dealing with loss, trauma, and alienation for the past 10 years. Today, displaced Syrians feel more trapped than ever as the situation continues to deteriorate, while resources diminish, and needs mount.
In crisis-hit Lebanon, both Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese communities are struggling to survive. As such, Syrian refugees along with vulnerable Lebanese communities are left to endure more pain and hardships. The COVID-19 pandemic, the economic meltdown, the severe devaluation of the Lebanese pound, and the devastating Beirut Blast have left more than half of the Lebanese population below the poverty line and the majority of Syrian refugees in extreme poverty.
In this context, cash assistance and humanitarian support, deeply impacted by inflation, rising prices, and bank restrictions, can no longer sustain families’ basic needs. Civil society actors and international organizations are receiving increased calls for assistance from both Lebanese and refugees, with limited resources falling short of the growing and urgent needs. Furthermore, the high unemployment rate and lack of livelihood opportunities have triggered the rise of anti-refugee narrative again, attributing part of the economic collapse to the presence of Syrian refugees within Lebanese borders. Parts of society are questioning the prolonged stay of refugees and calling for their return to Syria despite the uncertain situation in the country.
Therefore, it is essential for us as academics and researchers to highlight credible data and research-based studies that portray the real story. Driven by this firm belief, the 101 Facts and Figures on the Syrian Refugee Crisis was developed in a three-volume series that started in 2018 with the aim to respond to the anti-refugee rhetoric, inform the narrative, and counter falsehoods and half-truths, by showing evidence around the true situation of refugees and the impact they have on their host communities. While the current series being issued 10 years into the crisis is the third and final volume, evidence and fact-based research and approaches should never cease. Let us confront myths with facts.