Exemplar Higher Modern Studies Question Paper (SQA 2014)

Section 3, Question 4

The impact of the conflict on the people within Syria

The conflict in Syria has led to an increase in the number of deaths within the country. The civil war in Syria has been fought between the government and armed rebel forces, resulting in over 100,000 deaths amongst the Syrian population since 2011 (Source A). This can be seen in the growth of the number of recorded deaths per week in Syria. In the week beginning 18 March 2011 there were very few deaths per week, but by the weeks leading to October 2013 this had reached a peak of over 2000 in one week (Source B).

Furthermore, the civil war in Syria has resulted in many Syrians becoming homeless. This is because the fighting between rebels and the government is spread throughout the country, rather than being confined to certain areas, like the capital city Damascus. Cities like Aleppo in the north and Dar’a in the south of the country are both areas of fighting as both sides try to take control (Source A). A consequence of this is that millions of Syrian civilians have had to leave their homes for fear of dying like thousands of other civilians caught in the conflict (Source A).

The impact of the conflict on neighbouring countries

As a consequence of the conflict millions of Syrians have been made homeless, and are therefore seeking refuge in safe countries. Syria is a largely landlocked country, and shares a border with Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. These countries have faced a sudden increase in the number of Syrian migrants, with hundreds of thousands crossing the border seeking asylum (Source A). The impact of this on the neighbouring countries is a serious strain on resources, especially during winter, leading to the UNHCR asking the international community to supplement the aid provided by these countries (Source A).

However, a strain on resources is not the only impact on Syria’s neighbours. There is also the fear that the conflict will follow the refugees. The peace of Lebanon, for example, was already uneasy between its different religious groups, and there is a fear that the conflict in Syria could trigger violence here too (Source A). In 2013 90% of Lebanese people asked said they were concerned that the violence in Syria would spread, the highest level of concern recorded amongst neighbouring countries. The people of Jordan were also concerned (79%), but the Turkish were the least concerned with only a small majority of people (54%) worried about the possible spread of violence (Source C).

Overall conclusion on the impact of the Syrian conflict

The conflict in Syria has impacted both Syrian people, and the people of neighbouring countries. Syrian people face the very real danger of being killed in the conflict, and so have resorted to fleeing in their millions to seek refuge in countries like Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon. However, despite helping the Syrian people, these countries face a strain on their resources in providing asylum. This, coupled with the fear of violence spreading from Syria to its neighbours, means that the Syrian conflict has had an impact beyond its own borders.

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