U.S. President Donald Trump cut off immigration from several Muslim-majority countries on Friday, freezing thousands of struggling Syrians’ hopes of resettling in a country that has, until recently, welcomed newcomers.
The Trump administration’s outright ban on Syrian refugees entering the U.S. set off international alarm bells, although it hardly came as a surprise. Throughout his election campaign, Trump demonized Syrians and Muslims as threats to American safety and prosperity, and even vowed to deport refugees who had already resettled in the U.S.
At a campaign rally in October 2015, Trump warned, “I’m putting people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, that if I win, they’re going back!”
There have been no fatal terror attacks in the U.S. since 1975 conducted by immigrants from any of the seven Muslim-majority countries that Trump has targeted in his new policy. The odds of an American being killed by a Syrian refugee in a terrorist attack are 1 in 3.64 billion.
But Syria’s civil war, now approaching its seventh year, has internally displaced more than 6.5 million people and forced almost 5 million more out of the country.
Neighboring nations have borne the brunt of this mass exodus, with at least 2.7 million Syrian refugees housed in Turkey, 1.07 million in Lebanon and 640,000 in Jordan. The U.S., by comparison, welcomed its 10,000 Syrian refugee in August 2016.
Syrians are living through what the United Nations has called the biggest humanitarian crisis of our time. They face constant threats of violence and abuse. As the temperatures have dropped this winter, they also contend with extreme weather conditions. Many families are homeless, living in makeshift tent cities without adequate food, water or clothing.
The following photos offer a glimpse of daily reality for thousands of men, women and children in the formerly besieged city of Aleppo, as the U.S. tightens its borders and Syria’s crisis intensifies.