Alisa Roth is an Editor of the public radio program Life of the Law and has reported on refugee and asylum issues in many countries of Europe and the Middle East. (October 2013)


Syria’s Refugees: The Catastrophe

Syrian refugees crossing into northern Iraq near Dohuk, Iraq, August 21, 2013
By last September, the number of Syrians fleeing abroad had grown to more than 300,000, a figure that doubled again over the following three months. In March of this year, it reached one million. At the beginning of September, more than two million Syrians had left the country, while the average pace had reached five thousand people a day. The UN projects there will be 3.5 million refugees by the end of the year.

They Fled from Our War

An Iraqi agricultural engineer holding a photograph of his now blind sister, Damascus, Syria, 2008. They fled Iraq after he was stopped at a roadblock in Baghdad, tortured by a militia group, and left for dead while on his way to a hospital to obtain medicine that might have helped save her eyesight. Both unemployed, they live in poverty without hope of returning to Baghdad.

Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East

by Deborah Amos
Among the many consequences of the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, the plight of millions of Iraqi refugees is seldom mentioned. The stories of such people as Burhan Abdulnour, whom we met in Sweden in 2008, have hardly been told.


Syria: The Threat of Indifference

Syrian refugees rushing through a hole in the fence near the Turkish border, June 14, 2015

Yet one more horror in a war that has delivered them almost daily, the mass exodus of Syrians through a narrow opening in a chain-link fence at the Syrian-Turkish border this past June nevertheless stood out for what it showed about the sheer complexity of the human catastrophe now unfolding in Syria. The US has accepted fewer than one thousand Syrian refugees so far—more made it through that hole in the fence during a few hours.

Beyond the Camps: Images of the Syrian Exodus

Partly because of high-profile visitors like John Kerry and Jon Stewart, camps like Zaatari, in northern Jordan, have received a lot of attention in the media. But only a quarter of the more than two million Syrian refugees live in camps.

In sheer numbers alone, the scale of Syria’s humanitarian crisis is difficult to grasp: a third of the country’s 22.5 million people have abandoned their homes; 10 percent have fled the country, including more than one million children. The crisis has also been hard to understand because the Syrians who have fled are dispersed in hundreds of villages, towns, and cities across the region. These photographs, taken during reporting this summer in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq, show some of the many different situations in which the refugees now find themselves.