Historical Roots of the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Dr. miriam cooke, Braxton Craven Professor of Arab Cultures at Duke University, provides the historical context key to understanding why so many Syrians have fled their homes.

Dr. cooke situates Syria on the map before providing a brief political history of the country focusing on the rule of the al-Assad family from 1970 until the present day (2016). In 2011, revolutionary movements across the Arab World inspired protests against the authoritarian rule of Bashar al-Assad. Rather than stepping down or being forcibly ousted from power, al-Assad cracked down on all opposition to his rule. The result was a multi-sided civil war that has destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure and turned residential neighborhoods into war zones. Examining this history is key to understanding why so many Syrians have fled their homes.

The Middle East Explained series is a project of the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies (http://ncmideast.org).