As the popular uprisings against authoritarian regimes continue in several Arab countries, those countries' neighbors and the wider international community are being forced to deal with a new crisis: the growing number of conflict refugees.
During the past five months, thousands of Libyans have fled to Tunisia and Egypt. Many have also tried to cross the Mediterranean into Europe, with some dying at sea. The continuing violence in Syria has also forced thousands of Syrians to seek refuge in Lebanon. The situation in Syria may yet escalate into a full-fledged sectarian conflict between the majority Sunnis and the ruling Alawis. In that case, the violence against civilians will in all likelihood escalate, and the flow of conflict refugees out of Syria will sharply increase.
The uprising in Yemen also has the potential to generate many more conflict refugees. In recent days some tribal factions have joined the struggle against President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his supporters. The violence has already forced thousands to flee the capital city, Sanaa. While they are seeking refuge in other parts of the country for now, it is likely that as the violence escalates and spreads into other regions, many civilians will be forced to seek refuge in other countries.