9 sites in Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region are now housing about a quarter of a million Syrian refugees. More camps are being hastily constructed because the flow continues, sometimes overwhelming the initial transit/distribution points with peaks of tens of thousands of innocent civilians arriving in a single day.
Communities surrounding the camps are heavily impacted, and resources for the refugees are already scarce. A more destabilizing aspect is the thousands of refugees who have fled the camps into the surrounding communities. The backlash by local populations, as already happened in Jordan, will no doubt lead to violence as electricity, water, and jobs are consumed by the new population. There is also a competition between Syrian refugees and Iraqis moving north to escape the violence in the rest of Iraq.
Al-Qaeda will view the unrest as fertile ground for terrorist attacks in Kurdistan designed to destabilize the government.
October 9, 2013 by Bruce Wallace, 121Contact