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Rich Muslim Countries Urged to Do More for Syrian Refugees

Syrian refugees at Horgos, Serbia, Sept. 15, 2015. (Henry Ridgwell/VOA)
Syrian refugees at Horgos, Serbia, Sept. 15, 2015. (Henry Ridgwell/VOA)

Muslim countries, especially the oil-rich nations, and China could do more to resolve the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, analysts tell VOA Deewa.

Alam Payind, director of Middle East Studies Center at Ohio University, said political, ethnic or sectarian differences play a major role in shaping the thinking of the ruling families when it comes to accepting refugees, and the ruling families in oil-rich countries try not to accept refugees with whom they have these differences.

Syrian refugees have been leaving the country in droves, many taking desperate measures and resorting to dangerous land and sea journeys to get to Europe. European nations have been in crisis as governments try to deal with the influx, some closing borders. Hungary, for instance, has been building razor wire fences at its borders.

Payind also said China should play a more meaningful role in the ongoing refugee crisis. “Since China’s population is so large, it is obviously reluctant to accept more people.” But he says China and Russia can use their political influence to resolve the Syrian crisis that can keep these people from leaving their country.

Some analysts are criticizing rich Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain for not accepting Syrian refugees. Yahaya Lawal, head of the political affairs department of the Organization of Islamic Conference, admitted that rich Arab nations could do more to help the refugees, but added that the United Nations should play a more constructive role as an international body. “The U.N. needs to create environment so that the people could stay in their country and the mass exodus of the people could be stopped,” he said.

US Role

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday announced an increase to 100,000 in the number of refugees the country takes in by 2017. He did not say how many would be from Syria. But John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International's director for Europe, calls on the United States and some of its rich allies to do more.

“Certainly it [the refugee crisis] needs global solutions and regional solidarity, Gulf states, Australia, the U.S., Canada and South American nations should come to the table and begin to talk on more sophisticated solutions," he said.

But Payind says the United States should not be expected to accept a large number of refugees. “The U.S. is criticized for not accepting a large number given its economic power, but this is unfair. America accepts a large number of immigrants from around the world including conflict zones, like Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya etc.”

The United States admitted 70,000 refugees last year at a cost of $1.1 billion to the federal government, covering the cost of screening and up to five years' resettlement services.